Terror struck one of the holiest Buddhist shrines, the Mahabodhi Temple, and other places in Bihar’s pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya early on Sunday, with suspected Indian (Muslim) Mujahideen operatives simultaneously triggering nine low intensity bombs leaving two monks injured.
ZeeNews India The temple’s sanctum sanctorum and the Bodhi Tree, under which Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment, did not suffer any damage in the blasts which shook the holy town frequented by lakhs Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the whole of southeast Asia each year.
Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami said in New Delhi that serial explosions inside and outside Mahabodhi Temple complex were an Islamic terror attack and NIA and NSG teams have been sent for post-blasts investigations.
Last year, the Delhi Police claimed to have foiled a Muslim ‘fidayeen’ attack in the town with the arrest of suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) elements to avenge alleged “atrocities” against Muslims in Myanmar (Actually revenge for Muslim atrocities against Buddhists in Myanmar). Security agencies suspect that IM may be behind today’s multiple blasts.
“While four blasts took place inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, three occurred in Karmapa monastery, one each near near the famous 80-ft Buddha statue and at the bus stand near bypass,” Khan said. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said two live bombs were defused in the town. A third bomb, hidden in a cyclinder, was recovered from a village near Bodh Gaya hours after the blasts and defused.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who rushed to the blast site from Patna, about 100 kms from here, demanded deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for security of the shrine. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned the blasts, saying such attacks on religious places will “never be tolerated”.
Hours after the multiple blasts, the Centre directed all states to ensure fool-proof security at Buddhist shrines and Tibetan settlements in the wake of the continuing violence between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar.
In an advisory to all states with special emphasis on cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, the Home Ministry said adequate security must be provided to Buddhist shrines, Buddhist places of worships and Tibetian settlements.
Mahabodhi Temple, the target of serial blasts, has been closed for general public but the prayers will continue to be held as usual, Abhayanand said. The DGP said no harm has come to the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Buddhist temple.
The two injured monks, one from Tibet and the other a national of Myanmar, were admitted to Magadh Medical College and Hospital, Arvind Singh, a member of Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee said.
“We got information about six-seven months back that there may be a terror attack on the Mahabodhi Temple. After that we had beefed up security and deployed extra forces”, police said.