Bhopal, (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday laid the foundation stone of a Buddhist university in Sanchi and called for tolerance and understanding in the world, saying it was of great relevance in view of the violence sparked due to religious causes.
The Sri Lankan president’s visit to Sanchi came even as MDMK chief Vaiko and around 750 of his party workers were arrested for protesting against the visit.
Rajapaksa, after laying the foundation stone of the ‘Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies’, said: “I think the message of tolerance and understanding is of great relevance today, as we see the tragic results of enmity and hatred towards other faiths leading to violence and destruction, and great loss to societies.”
“This message of tolerance is of equal importance in the East and West alike,” he said.
Vaiko was arrested for violating prohibitory orders at a village in Chhindwara district, about 370 km from the state capital on Friday. MDMK activists also burnt an effigy of Rajapaksa and staged a black flag demonstration outside a guest house where they had been detained.
Vaiko and his workers of his Tamil party were arrested on the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border while proceeding on a march to Sanchi, about 45 km from Bhopal.
In his address, Rajapaksa hailed Mahatma Gandhi as the greatest son of modern India and said people have a duty to spread the message of non-violence, peace and compassion to the world which is “trapped in material-based progress”.
He said the University, which is aimed at promoting mutual relationships between Asian countries, would help to revive Buddhist and Indic studies based on the ancient concepts of teaching, self enquiry and traditional knowledge.
“We believe it will seek ways and means to revive the traditional concepts of social responsibility,” Rajapaksa said, adding that it “seeks to follow the unique path of higher education based on classical Indian universities like Takshila and Nalanda”.
Earlier, Rajapaksa, along with Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Thinley visited Sanchi Stupa.