Nitish too silent over Bodh Gaya blast
Shankerdeo Jha in Bodh Gaya
The serial bomb blast at the Bodh Gaya shrine on the morning of July 7 came at a time when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had recently turned secular. He was doing Yoga at his official residence in Patna that morning when he got the news of the blast. Bihar Chief Minister repeatedly told the media that he left the Yoga and rushed Bodh Gaya the moment he got the information. Later he told that there is no fool proof mechanism to stop terror attack. His statement was seen as public defense of his police. Privately he was defending himself as well. The blast was not high in intensity but it boomeranged on him.
Six months back Intelligence Bureau had made specific mention of probable attack on Bodh Gaya. Four blasts took place at temple’s site and five in 500 meter radius.
“We had specific intelligence inputs that suspected elements have done a secret survey of the temple site…security should have been strengthened. No action was taken, not even a reply to our intelligence input,” a senior IB official pointedly said.
The close circuit cameras dotted in the temple premises gave no clue about the planned terror visitor who planted bombs most at the temple site where devotees least visit. “You will be surprised to know that a bomb was placed near the base of the statue of Lord Buddha (80 feet) and even the height of pedestal is 15 feet nobody goes there,” a senior police official observed. Devotees visit Bodh Gaya during November to April. As the probe has been handed over to National Investigation Agency, the timing of blasts is baffling security establishment to understand the fact that as to why group chose a month to trigger blast when footfall is quite less and that too in early morning.
Soon after the blast police arrested one Anwar Hussain Mullick (42) from a bus stop in the town with explosives and fake Indian currency notes. He is a resident of Chapra in West Bengal’s Nadia district bordering Bangladesh. The man in question was remanded to police custody till July 20 to ascertain his links with blast.
On the basis of CCTV footage the police detained four youths all in their 20s but they turned to be innocent. The most hilarious or probably objectionable observation came from senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh who connected blast with recent rise of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to centrestage of national politics that left exasperated Nitish to walk out of NDA fold along with his party; JD(U).
Singh termed blast as Modi’s revenge on Nitish. Singh was soon blasted in silence but his statement gave a vivid hint that central UPA government may change the direction of probe to appear it as handwork of RSS and its sister concerns like many other blasts in the country where people associated with RSS were wrongly implicated. In fact ruling UPA establishment has become so insensitive towards national security that it refuses to see potential threat of Muslim fundamentalism.
“From last six months we are following Laskar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed on twitter. He has been regularly threatening India dire consequence against alleged atrocities on Rohingya Muslims Myanmar by Buddhist followers. Indications were that fundamentalist groups will attack any religious Buddhist place in the world. Since, Bodhgaya is the main centre of Buddhism, by attacking the temple fundamentalists are trying to send the message of open war. Have you not seen last year fundamentalists had created a riot like situation in Ranchi,” a senior security analyst said.
The blast is doubted to be handiwork of terror group Indian Mujahideen operating in Bihar. Nitish Kumar may not love to admit the grave security concerns which IM has posed before the country and Bihar. But the fact is that a good number of districts bordering Bangladesh and Nepal have become harbouring ground of fundamentalists. If number of arrest cases of people in Bihar having suspicious terror profile is viewed around a dozen were arrested especially from Madhubani, Darbhanga.
Over Bodh Gaya serial blast sources in the security establishment did not deny local IM operatives could be behind the blast. In fact, a large number of Muslims from Myanmar fled to Bihar after ethnic strife. “The blast could be linked to this episode. You can see it from timing of the blast. The blast took place just a day after birth anniversary of spiritual guru Dalai Lama. What more you want as a clue,” an official said.
The BJP and RJD called a bandh against blast and burnt effigy of Nitish Kumar on his Bodhgaya visit prompting Congress and JD(U) to criticise them of gaining political score.
Even if Nitish quickly lobbed the ball in center’s court as far the probe of the case is concerned, the blast has raised familiar questions. The temple site was not properly protected to that extent that suspected terrorists managed to plant bombs without being detected. Placing a dozen of bombs at different locations can’t be done in an hour. It must need advance preparations and mechanism. However, after the blast Nitish Kumar announced to hand over security of temple to CISF, the temple lacked in man and mechanism to meet such threat.
RSS condemned the explosions at Bodh Gaya temple in strongest terms. In a statement issued on July 10 RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Dr Manmohan Vaidya stressed the need to deal with the terrorists decisively. He said Lord Buddha was the harbinger of universal peace and He gave the world the message of peace, compassion and non-violence. “Due to lack of will on the part of our government to deal conclusively with the activities of terrorists with a heavy hand the terrorists are succeeding in their nefarious designs. The need of the hour is for all to rise above partisan politics to deal with this menace decisively,” the statement said.