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Monday, July 8, 2013

Blasts rock Bodh Gaya ...... ugly face of terror again....

Another place, another time, we read the news with sorrow really not knowing what to do… fear grips the minds of common people and that exactly is the motive of perpetrators ~ the administrators from whom we expect strong action would condemn the incident, visit the place try to get political mileage ~ blame game would start – irrespective of the place some media would start writing ‘terrorism has no religion’ ; some would event try to link with saffron terror…. A few more days – things would limp back to normalcy; everything would be forgotten – the scars would remain ever as one unfortunately could read another time the same sordid story of ‘bomb blasts in some place, innocent people getting killed and maimed, Centre blaming the State for not heeding to intelligence alerts.   

Siddhartha propagated ‘renunciation’ and enlightenment…. A King, he later became Gautama Buddha also known as Shakyamuni at a very young age. Buddha means "awakened one" or "the enlightened one."  He taught the principles of non-violence and love for everything ………~ and a place associated with him is unfortunately is in news….  

The Mahabodhi Temple is a UNESCO World heritage site, a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya (located in Gaya district) is located about 96 km (60 mi) from Patna, Bihar.  Next to the temple, to its western side, is the holy Bodhi tree. Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage.   For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Foremost among these are the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Faxian in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century.

The Bodh Gaya temple complex in Bihar was rocked by a series of explosions on Sunday morning. Over a hundred worshippers had just finished 30 minutes of chanting and a few were entering the temple complex;  the first blast reportedly  occurred at 5:45 a.m. Nine explosions followed in the next hour — four at temple sites and five in a 500-meter radius.  The Hindu reports that the  Special Task Force (STF) of the Kolkata Police is looking into whether a man held here late on Saturday evening and suspected to have links with the banned terrorist outfit, the Indian Mujahideen, is involved in the Bodh Gaya serial blasts. Anwar Hussain Mullick (42) was arrested from a bus stop in the heart of the city with explosives and fake Indian currency notes, senior officials of the STF said on Sunday. He is a resident of Chapra in West Bengal’s Nadia district bordering Bangladesh. He has been remanded in police custody till July 20.

A 3-kg cylinder with Trinitrotoluene (TNT) and ammonium nitrate was later recovered from under the sacred tree — a peepal tree where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment in 6th century BC. The tree was not damaged though. The seven-story shikhar, a pyramidal structure that forms the main sanctum, as well as the other shrines at the site were intact.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reached Bodh Gaya from Patna at 10:45 am in the morning and visited the temple complex as well as the injured being treated in Gaya. “This is very unfortunate. We have requested the central government for the Central Industrial Security Force to be deployed as well as for help from the NIA in investigations,” he said. Even as policemen, Central Reserve Police Force personnel, staff of Forensic Laboratory remained stationed at the complex, BJP workers staged demonstrations twice shouting slogans against the JD(U) government. The BJP called a bandh for Monday.  The nine explosions at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya may have not inflicted too much damage on the physical structure of the temple or to the people inside it, but the credibility of the state’s security apparatus has taken a massive hit.

All reports point to the same thing – the explosions happened despite multiple warnings that Buddhist shrines were being targeted by Muslim fundamentalists as ‘revenge’ for what was happening to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.  As Firstpost pointed out on Sunday: In January, the Delhi Police said at a press conference that arrested Indian Mujahideen operatives confessed that they had conducted reconnaissance at Bodh in preparation for an attack. The information that led to those arrests came from the Intelligence Bureau, which had penetrated a cell that was planning attacks in multiple locations, including Hyderabad, where a similar bombing took place earlier this year. Neither this, nor subsequent intelligence warnings on the threat to Bodh Gaya, named specific cells or individuals. They did, however, call for security to be stepped-up.

It goes without saying that while the lack of security at the temple is an issue that needs to be seriously looked into, political sparring is not going to solve the problem. Instead of using bomb explosions as yet another reason to score political brownie points and discredit one another, the leaders of our country, both at state and national level, need to re-examine the way intelligence inputs are given, received and acted upon.

If it is true that India’s police and intelligence services knew of the plots to attack the temple; mere security warnings and passing of information from one source to another does no good for the Nation and the callous administrators too needs to punished for failing to save the lives of common man.  We sincerely hope that heinous perpetrators are punished and we don’t have yet another blast in any of our Indian town

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

8th July 2013

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