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Friday, June 17, 2011

Tarun Vijay campaigns to save Preah Vihear Shiva Temple on Cambodia- Thai Border-- meets Cambodian Dy Prime Minister

17th June 2011- Mr Tarun Vijay, Member of Parliament and member parliamentary Standing Committee on External affairs, India met the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister In charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, considered as the the most powerful minister after the Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia in his bid to ensure that the thousand year old Shiva Temple on the Thai-Cambodian border remains protected and safe. he visited the temple, presently considered to be in an active war zone , Preah Vihear( pronounced Prah Vihiye) and became the first Indian Member of Parliament to climb a steel mountain trek and offer worship at the sanctum sanctorum with a special armed force standing in guard.

Tarun Vijay said that the world heritage site must be preserved at any cost. It was built between 9th and 12th centuries as a dream work of a great Shiva devotee king Jayavarman IInd. The Temple, originally known as Shikhareshwar Temple is situated on a mesmerizingly picturesque mountain just on Thai- Cambodian border and though International court of Justice has given a verdict in favor of Cambodia and recently UNESCO declared it as a world heritage, Thai authorities are claiming it and there have been a number of incidents involving heavy shelling by the Thai army causing serious damage to many of the Gupurams of the temple. Both the armies, thai and Cambodian have massed heavy artillery on both sides of the temple and it remains closed for the tourists for the last three years.

Tarun Vijay said that world's culturally conscious citizens must raise their voice to protect the temple which is a shining example of ancient architecture and a highly revered place of worship for Hindus and Buddhists . The Deputy prime Minister of Cambodia Mr sok An gave details of the historic Hindu back ground of the temple and urged Mr Tarun Vijay to raise the issue on the global fora for generating public opinion in favor of protecting the temple, safeguarding the passage for tourists and pilgrims to the temple site and declaring the temple hill as the peace zone.

Mr Tarun Vijay assured the dy Prime Minister of all his help and said that he will give a report based on his first hand experience to his party president Mr Nitin Gadkari and also to the Prime Minister and the Minister of External Affairs. He said that the temple must remain a peace zone and regional countries specially India has a special responsibility to ensure that under no circumstances the temple is damaged. we must use our good offices to talk to the Thai government also, he said and added that from Phnom Penh he will be flying to Bangkok tomorrow to meet the senior Buddhist leaders to request them to help resolve the issue.
Background note.

Hon'ble Tarun Vijay, senior Member of Parliament, Upper House, India and Member Parliamentary Foregn Affairs Standing Committee; created a history by becoming first MP from India to visit Preah Vihear Temple and offer worship to Lord Shiva on 15th June 2011. He said it was his dream to visit the world heritage site and do his bit to create public opinion for the safety and preservation of this thousand year old temple which is a pride for this world. He was greeted by the Governor of Preah Vihear H.E. Oum Mara and senior officials of APSARA authority including its Director General, who briefed Shri Tarun Vijay about the real sitation and also the decision of ICJ. Prof S. Sahai, a senior scholar and world renowned researcher who has done extensive work on Preah Vihear temple accompanied Shri Tarun Vijay and gave him all the background material on the temple.

Shri Tarun Vijay took hundreds of pictures of the Temple including the ones showing damage to the ancient world heritage site by Thai shelling. . He lamented that such a world heritage should become a controversial issue and said that this site needs world attention and a collective will of all the civil citizens of this planet to preserve and safeguard world's most valuable heritage. He assured that this issue will be taken up with Thai authorities also and he will inform Indian palriament about his visit and his experiences in Cambodia. He said- maintain peace, preserve Preah Vihear, for regional stability and progress.

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