Bodhgaya: Eight blasts in Mahabodhi temple; two injured

Bodhgaya: Eight blasts in Mahabodhi temple; two injured
Bodhgaya:  Two people have been injured in a series of blasts inside the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar's Bodhgaya district. The first blast took place inside the temple at 5:30 am, followed by seven successive explosions in the next half hour. (See pics)

While four of the blasts took place inside the Mahabodhi temple, the other four exploded outside. Another two live bombs were reportedly found near the temple, and defused.

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.

There were not too many people inside the temple when the blasts took place. The two injured, reportedly a Buddhist monk from Myanmar and a pilgrim, have been rushed to a hospital.

"We were doing our daily rituals in the temple when we heard a big explosion," said an eyewitness.

Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami said the blasts were a "terror attack." (Read)

Teams from the National Investigation Agency and the National Security Guard are on their way to Bodhgaya.

Senior police officer SK Bhardwaj said there have been intelligence reports about the possibility of attacks on the shrines but he did not give any details. (Why were intel warnings ignored, asks BJP)

The temple premises have been cordoned off. Reports say security has been beefed up in and around other religious sites of the district.

Last year, security of the Mahabodhi temple was handed over to the Special Task Force of Bihar Police. A mock drill was carried out at the temple by the district administration in the last week of June.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned today's blasts, saying "such attacks on religious places will never be tolerated." (Read)

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 Myanmar. The main pilgrimage starts in September.
Story First Published: July 07, 2013 07:07 IST

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