Security Stepped Up At Bodh Gaya After Ahmedabad Blasts Suspect's Arrest

The Mahabodhi Temple complex is located in Bodh Gaya, the place where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.

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Security Stepped Up At Bodh Gaya After Ahmedabad Blasts Suspect's Arrest

Mahabodhi Temple was the target of a series of blasts in July 2013 that injured one person. (File)

Patna:  The Bihar government has increased the security of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, Buddhism's holiest shrine, following the arrest of the main suspect of the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts in the town.

Nine years ago, 16 explosions within a span of 70 minutes had killed 56 people in Ahmedabad on 26 July.

Tausif Khan, a 35-year-old engineer, and two others were caught after this week a cyber cafe owner reported him to the police for a social media post. The police is now trying to find out if Khan, wanted in 35 terror cases, was planning to target Bodh Gaya temple and had formed new networks in the town 100 km from Patna.

The Mahabodhi Temple complex is located in Bodh Gaya, the place where the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. It was the target of a series of blasts in July 2013 that injured one person.

The attack made headlines across India and beyond. Operatives of the Indian Mujahideen arrested for the blasts said the they were aimed at international Buddhist tourists to avenge the killings of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

After the incident, the then Bihar Government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the Congress-led central government announced that the Central Industrial Security Force or CISF will be taking over the security of the temple.

However, the temple remains under the protection of the state police as the Bihar government deemed the central security too expensive.

"We calculated the cost and the demand of other facilities which included housing and accommodation for forces and it was found to be exorbitant. But we have given two companies of Bihar military police which means 130 jawans are their guarding the temple and vicinity," a senior Bihar Police officer said, requesting not to be named.

"We also have the advantage of a company of special task force and ATS also stationed there. We review the security preparedness at a regular interval," he added.

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Bihar Police spokesperson SK Singhal said, "It's up to the government to decide but I can assure you our security there ensured even the Kalachakra festival, where over a million Buddhists participated earlier this year, took place without a hitch."

Sources say the Bihar government insists the centre should pick up the tab for the CISF protection as the Mahabodhi Temple is an UNESCO World Heritage site. The centre, however, says law and order being a state subject, it should be the Bihar government which foots the bill.

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