India: bomb blasts at Buddhism birthplace

A string of nine near-simultaneous bomb blasts in and around the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya in India’s Bihar state, revered as the birthplace of Buddhism, left two monks injured on July 7. Another two live bombs were reportedly found near the temple and defused There was no damage to the temple, or to the holy bodhi tree within the complex, said to be that under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. The right-opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) immediately accused the central and Bihar governments of failing to take steps to avert the attack despite warnings from the intelligence services.

Indian press accounts say the warning came after Delhi Special Cell anti-terror police busted a cell of the Indian Mujahedeen organization which was allegedly responsible for serial blasts in Pune, Maharashtra, last August (which claimed no serious casualties). In interrogations, it was apparently revealed that the group was also planning a fidayeen (suicide) attack at the Mahabodhi temple. Sources also said a meeting to plan the attack was held in Hyderabad, at the house of Obaid-ur-Rehman, a key suspect in the Hyderabad blasts of this February.

The Buddhist shrines in Bodhgaya, a town 130 kilometers south of Patna, attract a large number of pilgrims, especially from Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma. The main pilgrimage starts in September. One of the monks wounded in the attack was apparently a Burmese pilgrim. (NDTV, NDTV, NDTV, PTI, July 7)

Since emerging in 2008, the Indian Mujahedeen have claimed responsibility for attacks in MumbaiJaipurAhmedabad, Assam and New Delhi.

Please support our fund drive.

  1. Exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader reacts to Bodh Gaya bombing
    The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, exiled leader of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, now based in Dharamsala, India, issed the following statement on the Bodh Gaya bombing:

    I was deeply saddened to hear of the senseless violence perpetrated today at the Mahabodhi temple and its environs in Bodhgaya. This is the place where Buddhist pilgrims from India and the world over pay homage to Lord Buddha and his teachings.

    As yet we do not know why or by whom this sacred site was targeted. However, I am convinced that, as Buddhists, in responding to this situation, the best homage we can pay to Lord Buddha is to uphold his teachings on love and ahimsa (non-violence).

    I ask you, therefore, to remain calm and refrain from any further escalation of the violence. I offer my prayers for the victims and their families, and call on Buddhists everywhere to truly embrace the wisdom of Lord Buddha’s teachings in all that we do.

    17th Karmapa, OgyenTrinley Dorje
    7th July, 2013.

  2. Indian Mujahedeen behind Patna terror: authorities
    A series of coordinated bomb blasts in Patna, Bihar state, left six dead and some 80 injured Oct. 27—in the midst of a BJP election rally in the city. India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) says it hs information linking the attacks to the Pakistan-based leader of Indian Mujahedeen, Riyaz Bhaktal. Seven men have been detained in connection with the blasts. (Hindustan Times, Oct. 31)

  3. Pakistan behind Chennai terror?

    A young woman was killed and 14 injured May 1 when twin blasts tore through two coaches of a train that had pulled into Chennai's central station. Media reports in India are linking the attack to a Sri Lankan national who had been detained two days earlier, apparently on suspicion of recruiting militants for a network controlled by Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI. (Yahoo India, May 1; Times of India, April 30)