Bomb found near Ma­ha­bodhi tem­ple in Bodh Gaya

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - ANAND ST DAS

A pos­si­ble ter­ror­ist plot to blow up the Ma­ha­bodhi tem­ple in Bi­har’s Bodh Gaya was ex­posed on Satur­day af­ter a live bomb was re­cov­ered by a team of Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) and the lo­cal po­lice near the Kalachakra grounds in the holy town.

Po­lice of­fi­cials said the bomb was found in a toi­let near the Kalachakra grounds on the ba­sis of leads pro­vided by a ter­ror sus­pect ar­rested by NIA on Fri­day. Alok Mit­tal, NIA spokesper­son, said it was a “hand grenade” and that it was de­fused.

With the state ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing of Bi­har’s rul­ing BJP hav­ing taken place in Bodh Gaya three days ago, news of the the re­cov­ery of the bomb cre­ated a stir. Po­lice and NIA of­fi­cials, how­ever, did not clar­ify if the bomb was planted re­cently or in Jan­uary, when three pow­er­ful im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices (IEDs), each weigh­ing about 10 kg, were planted in the Ma­ha­bodhi tem­ple.

“The bomb was re­cov­ered on the ba­sis of leads pro­vided by Di­lawar Hus­sain alias Qa­mar, a ter­ror sus­pect hail­ing from Malda in West Bengal who was ar­rested by NIA on Fri­day. He was brought to Bodh Gaya and in­ter­ro­gated,” said a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cial.

Sources said it was pos­si­ble that the bomb was planted in Jan­uary, when some low-in­ten­sity ex­plo­sives were re­cov­ered near the Kalchakra grounds when the Dalai Lama and thou­sands of his fol­low­ers, in­clud­ing Hol­ly­wood On Jan­uary 19, a low­in­ten­sity crude bomb had ex­ploded and two IEDs were re­cov­ered near the Kalchakra grounds. The NIA, which took up the probe, later ar­rested seven ac­cused who were found to have links with Ja­maat-ul-Mu­jahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a ter­ror­ist out­fit ac­tive in the border ar­eas of In­dia and Bangladesh.

star Richard Gere and hun­dreds of for­eign tourists, were in the town for a con­gre­ga­tion.

Se­cu­rity was beefed up in Bodh Gaya af­ter the bomb’s re­cov­ery, which re­vived mem­o­ries of the se­rial blasts in the town on July 7, 2013. Ten bombs had ex­ploded that day in and around the Ma­ha­bodhi Tem­ple com­plex and five peo­ple, in­clud­ing two Bud­dhists monks, were in­jured.

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