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6-min read

Live: Mahabodhi temple reopens for public a day after blasts

Of the 48 hours of the footage caught on cameras, so far the footage hasn't thrown up any important leads, say sources.

Prabhakar Kumar, Arunimaprabhakar007

Updated:July 8, 2013, 10:03 AM IST
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Live: Mahabodhi temple reopens for public a day after blasts
Of the 48 hours of the footage caught on cameras, so far the footage hasn't thrown up any important leads, say sources.
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Bodh Gaya/New Delhi: 6:58 pm: The Mahabodhi temple has now reopened for public after a special prayer was performed.

5:17 pm: The special prayer has begun at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya after which the temple will be reopened for public.

5:09 pm: Sources say it is possible that the bomb planters were aware of the camera locations and managed to evade them. Of the 48 hours of the footage caught on cameras, so far the footage hasn't thrown up any important leads, say sources.

4:38 pm: The All India Students Federation is protesting in Patna against the Bodh Gaya blasts.

3:38 pm: Sources say CCTV footage viewed so far has not proved to be helpful.

2:15 pm: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Bihar DGP DGP Abhayanand have confirmed that 10 blasts took place at the Mahabodhi temple on Sunday.

1:23 pm Nitish Kumar says until the CISF takes over security, Bihar Police will protect the World Heritage site.

1:22 pm: This is the first ever serial blasts in Bihar. There were 9 blasts and three bombs did not explode, says Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

1: 21 pm: No one can claim that such incidents will never happen in any part of the country. The state government is looking into establishing an anti-terror squad in Bihar, says Nitish.

1:20 pm: Some inputs were received a few days back and there was action by the concerned officers. The concerned officials will soon give details on it, says Nitish

1:18 pm: The Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaye is a world heritage site. I have asked for CISF security for the temple," says Nitish.

1:17 pm: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar says investigations into the Mahabodhi temple blasts are on and the team has not yet come to any conclusion.

12:16 pm: The National Security Guard (NSG) forensic team has submitted the final report on Mahabodhi temple blasts to the Union Home Ministry. Sources say ammonium nitrate, potassium and sulphur were used as explosives and it it would be wrong to call the bombs crude. They said that the bombs were like any other IED used in the past, the only difference is they used cylinders as containers this time. It is possible that the first blast disturbed the mechanism in the other bombs placed nearby reducing their impact, they added.

11:57 am Mahabodhi temple will open for public at 5 pm today after a special prayer.

11:42 am: Singh says he has always been wrongly accused for politicising issues. "I promise to show much more restraint in the statements I make," he adds.

11:41 am: "Let the investigation in the Mahabodhi temple blasts be completed and those behind the blast be chargesheeted and punished," Singh says.

11:40 am: "I have never linked Modi to Ishrat Jahan encounter," he says.

11:39 am: Slamming the media, Singh says media has been reporting unsubstantiated information in the Ishrat Jahan encounter and Mahabodhi blasts cases.

11:35 am: The Congress says political parties and media should restrain from jumping to conclusions and the NIA should be allowed to complete its investigation.

11:33 am: Immediately after the blasts took place in the Mahabodhi temple, both Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajiv Pratap Rudy blamed Nitish Kumar, he says.

11:31 am: BJP is politicising the Mahabodhi temple blasts, says Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh.

10:05 am: The analysis also shows that the explosives used in the bombs were a mix of ammonium nitrate, sulphur and potassium.

10 am: Preliminary forensic analysis of the unexploded bombs identifies the company that made the clock which was used as a timer in the bombs.

A day after terror struck the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya injuring two monks, Bihar Police on Monday said that there were no lapses in the security of the temple. The police also rubbished media reports which said the CCTV cameras installed at the world renowned religious site were not working. "There was no security lapse, all security arrangements were in place," Deputy Development Commissioner Giribar Dayal Singh said.

The police on Monday also released the CCTV footage of the blasts, which took place in and around the famous 1500-year-old temple on Sunday morning. Two monks were injured in the nine blasts, which the government has confirmed as a terror attack. Prayers were held for the injured at the Mahabodhi temple on Monday morning.

One person, with suspected Indian Mujahideen links, was detained by the police in Kolkata on Sunday. Police are also examining if there is a Myanmar link to the bombings since the Intelligence Bureau had warned of threats to the temple following attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, following an advisory by the government, security of all states with Buddhist population and sites has been increased.

Terror struck the world renowned religious site of Bodh Gaya, Bihar in the early hours on Sunday as a series of nine explosions in and around the famous Mahabodhi temple left two monks injured. "Two monks from Tibet and Myanmar were injured in the attack," an eyewitness said.

The 1500-year-old temple, which is a UNESCO World heritage site, and the Bodhi Tree, under which Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment, did not suffer any damage in the blasts which shook the holy town frequented by Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the whole of southeast Asia.

An NIA team reached Bodh Gaya on Sunday evening to begin its probe. "While four blasts took place inside the Mahabodhi temple, three occurred at Karmapa monastery and one each near near the famous 80-ft Buddha statue and under a tourist bus," Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on Sunday.

Two live bombs were recovered later in the morning on Sunday, while a third was found near Bodh Gaya's Baiju Bigaha area late Sunday afternoon. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who rushed to the blast site from Patna, about 100 kms from Gaya, demanded deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for security of the shrine.

"We had increased the security of the Mahabodhi temple. CCTV cameras were put in place. But after this incident, we will take further steps to strengthen its security," Nitish Kumar said.

However, no group has claimed responsibility for what the Centre and state government have described as a terror attack in a region where Maoists have a strong foothold. In 2012, the Delhi Police claimed to have foiled a 'fidayeen' attack in the town with the arrest of suspected IM elements to avenge "atrocities" against Muslims in Myanmar. Security agencies suspect that IM may be behind Sunday's multiple blasts.

Sources said that even the IB had issued an alert in June of a possible attack on the Mahabodhi temple.

Bihar Police chief Abhayanand said on Sunday that no harm has come to the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Buddhist temple, but some peripheral damage has occurred. Asked why the blasts could not be averted even after an alert by IB, the state's top policeman said security was increased after the inputs were received but added "every incident is a learning experience".

However, Delhi Police claimed it had alerted its Bihar counterpart and intelligence agencies about Bodh Gaya temple being on the radar of terror outfits. "The input was given on the basis of information we had obtained from a group of IM terrorist arrested in 2012 in the Pune blasts case," said the Delhi police official.

According to the police, IM operatives had told them that they were planning Pune-like blasts in Delhi and Bihar for which they had specifically spent around two weeks doing a recce of the temple town. The officer also said that a team of Delhi Police is planning to visit Bodh Gaya to share the information it had received from IM operatives with the security agencies investigating the blasts.

BJP and other opposition parties accused the Centre and the Bihar government of having failed to take steps to avert the terror strike at the Mahabodhi temple despite specific warnings of intelligence agencies.

Terming the series of blasts at Mahabodhi temple complex in Bihar as "unfortunate", Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said "few individuals" could be behind the attack. "The incident is really unfortunate," he said, adding that few individuals could be responsible for the attack.

(With additional information from PTI)####

National security is too important to be politicised, Rajdeep Sardesai on Bodh Gaya blasts

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