Nine blasts rocked Bodh Gaya, one of the holiest shrines of Buddhism and other religions as well. Bodh Gaya, where Buddha himself attained enlightenment was shaken by at least nine bomb blasts on Sunday morning in India resulting in the death of two monks, and a few tourists are in serious condition. A series of explosions startled the pilgrims, monks, and locals. They didn’t know where to run for safety.
According to two the intelligence officials, the terror attack was extremely brutal, and may have caused damage to the age-old shrine and the world famous Bodhi tree under which Buddha meditated. The attackers or terrorists, whoever planted the bombs, knew there were fewer pilgrims during those hours, but the bombs could seriously damage the temples and their pillars. As policemen reported, all the bombs were set with timers and one un-exploded bomb was found in a bushy corner. That bomb was defused and was set to go off at 8:25 am.
According to Gaya Police, the blasts took place in rapid succession between 5.30am and 6am in the temple complex and near the Mahabodhi tree. Though unofficial sources confirmed nine blasts, official sources have yet to inform the actual number. Actually, no witness could confirm the actual number of blasts they heard. However there were a series of blasts that stirred people and shook the temple.
One of the blasts took place just under the enlightenment tree causing partial damage to the Buddha footprints on 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 India.
One blast each took place at the great Buddha statue and a bus parked on the Sujata bypass. The blasts occurred in a short period of time giving people little time to seek safety. The temple monks were the in the greatest jeopardy.
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.
But Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, where Bodh Gaya is situated, dismissed any kind of security lapse. For him, it is an act of terrorism, and an attempt to destroy religious harmony and peace. He assured everyone that the Government will take massive steps to capture the terrorists.
Some unofficial sources confirmed that at least three terrorists planted the bombs and they may flee to Patna, another city in the state. There are beliefs that one of the terrorists is from Scotland while another one from Saudi Arabia; but intelligence hasn’t confirmed information about the third.
According to intelligence sources, Bodh Gaya has been in the crosshairs of Pakistan-based terrorists, who want to avenge violence against Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar. Their only aim is to cause unrest in India and take revenge on other religions. The extremists are closely related to this attack.
The police said crude explosives were used for the low-intensity blasts. No structural damage was suffered by the 7th century temple, which is regarded as one of the holiest Buddhist shrines and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Attacks upon Buddhists are rare in India but there are strong tensions in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
No terrorist organization took responsibility for the attack. Though, damages are minimal, no one will forget the feeling of fear caused by the blasts. Nine blasts in a short span of time, and shook everyone. Bodg Gaya was shaken by nine bomb explosions, and frightened everyone nearby. They caused concern throughout the entire country.
Written by: Jayeeta Shamsul