Security at the Mahabodhi temple, rocked by serial explosions today, was not adequate - this was reportedly conveyed to the management of the shrine by the police as early as this week. Two people were injured after eight blasts went off in quick succession early this morning. (Read)
The famous Buddhist shrine, residing inside the Bodhgaya complex, attracts a large number of pilgrims, especially from Japan, Thailand and Myanmar. But the main pilgrimage starts in September.
Sources have told NDTV that a security review meeting was held on July 2 which was attended by the local police and members of the temple trust. Only the perimeter of the temple complex - which has been established as a sensitive target - is manned by cops while security arrangements inside are looked after by the trust.
Police had, during the meeting, reportedly expressed apprehensions about the safety of the temple. But they didn't anticipate a strike of such nature during lean tourist season, according to sources.
This despite specific inputs issued by central intelligence agencies in the last three months about a possible attack on the temple, in light of the conflict in Myanmar between the majority Buddhists and the minority Muslim community. In fact, Delhi Police, too, had warned their Bihar counterparts last year of banned terror group Indian Mujahideen's plans to launch a fidayeen
(suicide) attack on the shrine. (Read)
Caught on the backfoot, chief minister Nitish Kumar tried to put the ball into the Centre's court, saying he had apprised the latter earlier for enhanced protection from central forces for the temple. Mr Kumar has demanded deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for security of the shrine. (Read)
The BJP, meanwhile, was prompt in attacking the Chief Minister, asking him why intel warnings had been ignored by the state government. (Read)
Mr Kumar's party, the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) had dumped the BJP last month after a 17-year-long relationship.