|Under the Bodhi tree, Bodh Gaya, India (owlsdaughter.com)|
GAYA, India (July 7, 2013) Terror struck the temple town of Bodh Gaya in Bihar state, as nine serial explosions rocked the Mahabodhi Temple complex [presumed site of the Buddha's great enlightenment] on Sunday morning.
Two tourists, including a monk from Burma, have been injured in the blasts. The injured are being treated at the Anugrah Narain Magadh Medical College hospital.
Union home secretary Anil Goswami confirmed that the Bodh Gaya blasts were a terror attack.
Bihar police suspect the involvement of Indian Mujahideen in the temple blasts.
According to Gaya Police, the blasts took place in quick succession between 5:30 am and 6:00 am in the temple complex and near the Maha-Bodhi tree. One blast was reported from a bus stand.
One of the blasts took place just under the enlightenment tree causing partial damage to the Buddha footprints in the shrine premises.
Four blasts took place inside the shrine premises, while another three blasts took place in the Tregar monastery premises. The Tregar monastery belongs to the Karmapa, the second most important spiritual leader [in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism].
One blast each took place at the great Buddha statue and a bus parked on the Sujata bypass.
Arvind Singh, a member of Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee, said two other bombs, one near the 80 foot statue and one at bus stand, have been defused.
Zonal IG Sushil Khopade confirmed eight blasts.
Nitish Kumar reached Bodh Gaya to take stock of the situation. He took a round of the Mahabodhi Temple complex and held a meeting with the officials.
BJP activists led by former minister Prem Kumar greeted Nitish Kumar with "go back" slogans outside the temple main gate.
JD(U) workers present there raised pro-Nitish slogans and countered the protesting BJP workers.
Cops have sealed the entry routes to the shrine.
An NIA team is expected to arrive shortly to initiate a probe.
"A team of NIA officers is coming to Bodh Gaya from Kolkata [Calcutta]," DIG special branch Parasnath said.
The DIG said, "The sanctum sanctorum of the Mahabodhi Temple is intact. The temple premises have been sanitized."
The secretary of the Bodh Gaya committee Dorji said, "There were four blasts inside the temple premises. Fortunately, there was no damage to the Bodhi tree or the main temple structure."
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"In the first blast which took place near the Bodhi tree, a table was blown up because of which two persons were injured. The second blast, I think, was inside the enclosure where books were kept. The furniture was damaged, but there was no damage to the monuments or statues," he added.
Asked about the nature of explosives used, S.K. Bharadwaj, ADG (Law and Order) said they were low intensity time bombs.
He 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 secuirty and deployed extra forces."
Bodh Gaya Buddhist temple, around 10 km from Gaya and 100 km from the capital [of Bihar state] Patna, is world famous. The Buddha had attained enlightenment here under the Mahabodhi tree in the temple premises.
Dalai Lama makes frequent trips to Bodh Gaya, and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had visited six months back. A total of 52 countries have established Buddhist monasteries here.