Indian police have reportedly arrested a senior Buddhist monk, Bhante Shanghpriya Sujoy, accused of sexually abusing 15 boys at a meditation centre he ran in a holy city.
According to reports, Sujoy was detained in the UNESCO heritage town of Bodh Gaya, which attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims every year, after boys complained that they had been beaten, abused and forced to dance naked, police said.
The scandal is the latest to hit the Buddhist establishment after the former head of China’s government-run Buddhist association was removed this week as abbot of a Beijing temple following a sexual assault investigation.
A senior police officer at Bodh Gaya told AFP there are “serious allegations” against Bhante Shanghpriya Sujoy who took boys aged between six and 12 from impoverished families in India’s remote northeast.
“The children complained to their guardians about physical and sexual abuse by their head monk. The children say they were thrashed and sexually abused at the school. They were locked up without food and water if they resisted,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Bhante Shanghpriya Sujoy was first arrested on Wednesday and police are also investigating the trust which runs the school.