GAYA: Terror struck the temple town of Bodh Gaya in Bihar, as nine serial explosions rocked the Mahabodhi Temple complex on Sunday morning.
Two tourists, including a monk from Myanmar, 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.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar strongly condemned the serial blasts in and around the temple and demanded deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to protect the world famous Buddhist shrine.
"The serial blasts deserve strongest condemnation in strongest possible words as the perpetrators targeted the place of religious faith of crores of people with an aim to create fear among them," he told reporters after inspecting the blast sites at the Mahabodhi temple and surrounding areas in Gaya district with senior civil and police officials.
The chief minister said that the NIA and local police will probe the incident and expose the conspiracy and designs of those behind the attack.
Kumar, however, dismissed suggestions that there was any security lapse and said adequate precautionary measures were taken to beef up security measures at the Mahabodhi temple and surrounding areas in the wake of intelligence inputs.
Nitish arrived at Bodh Gaya by a helicopter from Patna with chief secretary AK Sinha and director general of police (DGP) Abhayanand.
He visited the Mahabodhi temple and took a first-hand stock of situation at the blast sites.
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.
According to Gaya Police, the blasts took place in quick succession between 5.30am and 6am in the temple complex and near the Mahabodhi tree.
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.
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 Commitee said two other bombs, one near the 80 feet statue and one at bus stand have been defused.
Cops have sealed the entry routes to the shrine. A NIA team is expected to arrive shortly for the probe.
"A team of NIA officers is coming to Bodh Gaya from Kolkata," DIG special branch Parasnath said.
The DIG said, "The sanctum sanctorum of the Mahabodhi Temple is intact. The temple premises have been sanitised."
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."
"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 said.
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 capital Patna, is world famous. Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment here under the Mahabodhi tree in the temple premises.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama makes frequent trips to Bodh Gaya and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had visited it six months back. A total of 52 countries have established their monasteries here.
Who did it? Why?
Last edited by Vermilion cloud; July 7th, 2013 at 10:26 AM.