Maharashtra native Abhijit Ratan Hajare was part of 15-bike convoy headed by Bhutanese team leader; cops on lookout of local carpenter who helped him climb stupa for picture
Guwahati: Pictures of two persons, including an Indian tourist, atop a sacred Chorten in Bhutan have caused outrage on social media.
This comes after Tenzing Lamsang, editor of a Bhutanese daily, posted pictures on Twitter in which two persons, whose nationality could not be determined then, were seen standing on top of the Buddhist stupa.
The two persons were later identified as Abhijit Ratan Hajare, a biker from Maharashtra, who was seen standing on the stupa, while the other person, who was seen sitting on a ladder, Jambay, is a Bhutanese citizen and a carpenter who was carrying out repair works on the Chortens.
According to sources, Hajare was part of a 15-member bike convoy headed by a Bhutanese team leader. The incident happened when bikers were resting at Dochula and the team leader was trying to arrange parking space for the bikes.
Hajare came across Jambay and was allowed to climb the ladder. The Bhutanese leader of the convoy was unaware of the incident.
The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) has ceased the passport of the Indian tourist and called him in for questioning on Friday. Meanwhile, they are in the process of tracking down the carpenter.
The pictures which have been doing rounds on the internet since Thursday has infuriated netizens. This had led to a slew of apologies from Indians, and request to vilify Indian tourists and suggesting to bring in high-cost visa.
Also, former foreign secretary Nirupama Menon Roa apologised for the tourist's behaviour. On Twitter, she wrote: "As an Indian, I am so sorry for this."
Another Twitter user suggested that such tourists "need a lesson in respecting traditions and civilized behaviour while" on foreign shores.
Chorten or Stupa is an important religious monument in Buddhism, symbolising Lord Buddha’s presence. It also holds precious Buddhist relics and sometimes even preserved bodies of renowned lamas.
What makes this action more galling is that the stupas were constructed to commemorate the 2003 Operational All Clear led by the Fourth King where the Royal Bhutan Army cleared out up to 3,500 Indian militants belonging to ULFA, NDFB and KLO, among others, camped in dense jungles along the International border.
This was not an isolated event when Indian tourists have disrespected local sentiments. In July this year, actor Siddhant Karnich posted a video online calling out some Indian tourists for disrupting peace and tranquillity in Bhutan.