Suspected Indian Mujahideen man arrested over Bodhgaya blasts


A suspected Indian Mujahideen member, who was arrested yesterday from the Nadia district in West Bengal, will be questioned over whether he had any role to play in the multiple blasts that rocked the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar’s Bodhgaya yesterday morning.

Anwar Hussain Mallik was arrested yesterday with Rs. 1.9 lakh fake currency. He had allegedly supplied explosives for the 2010 Pune German Bakery blasts which killed 17 people. He was produced in court and remanded to 14 days police custody.

Meanwhile, the RJD and the Bihar BJP have called a bandh in the Magadh division of the state to protest against the Nitish Kumar government’s “failure” to prevent the terror attack in Bodhgaya despite prior information from intelligence agencies.

In October, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police had sent an intelligence input to Bihar’s Director General of Police (DGP) and the Superintendent of Police in Gaya district about a possible strike on the Mahabodhi temple by Indian Mujahideen.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the blast. An NIA team reached Bodhgaya on Sunday evening. The National Security Guard too will investigate the blasts.

The first blast took place inside the temple at 5:30 am, followed by seven successive explosions in the next half hour. While four of the blasts, which were reportedly set off by timers, took place inside the temple, the others exploded at a monastery nearby. Another two live bombs were reportedly found near the temple, and defused. Two people were injured in the blasts.

Reports say all blasts were of low-intensity and there has been no damage to the temple shrine. “The holy bodhi tree is safe and there is no damage to it,” Bihar police chief Abhayanand told AFP while confirming the blasts and injuries.

Experts say the damage was limited because it is a lean tourist season and there were not too many people inside the temple during that time. The two injured, reportedly a Buddhist monk from Myanmar and a pilgrim, were rushed to a hospital.

The Home Ministry has said the blasts were a “terror attack.” Sources said all states have been put on high alert; special alert has been issued for states with Buddhist population. Reports say security has been beefed up in and around other religious sites of the district.

The security of the temple was handled by the Special Task Force of the Bihar Police. However, sources said the police only guarded the perimeter of the temple’s complex. The temple’s trust was in charge of the security inside the compound.

A review of the security in and around the temple was done only earlier this week. A mock drill was also carried out at the temple by the district administration in the last week of June. (NDTV)