Blasts at Bodhgaya, 2 hurt

BodhMonks at Terger Monastery, where two of the bombs went off and one was defused. NIA will lead the probe

In what is suspected to be the first-ever terror attack in Bihar, nine low-intensity blasts struck Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya early Sunday, leaving a Tibetan student and a Burmese resident who were meditating there injured. The temple structure was not damaged in the attack. Three live bombs were later recovered from near the temple premises.

Four of the bombs went off inside the Mahabodhi complex, on either side of the temple. The first blast took place near the Bodhi tree, located behind the sanctum sanctorum, at 5.25 am, as per CCTV records. Within the next two minutes, three other bombs went off, at Maa Tara temple in front of the main temple entrance, near a peepal tree towards the north of the temple and inside an ambulance parked near the Butter Lamp House.

The other bombs struck near the temple complex, between 5.40 am and 7.45 am.

Vilasa GGA, a 26-year-old research scholar from Bodhgaya-based Myanmar Buddhist Academy Centre, and Tenzing Dorjee (60), a staffer of Nigma temple, were injured in the first blast. They suffered splinter injuries and are now out of danger.

All the bombs had timer devices, with instructions on where to place them written in Urdu on them. For example, the fifth bomb, that targeted Bodhgaya's signature 80-ft Buddha statue — located a kilometre away from the Mahabodi temple complex — had "bada but (big statue)" scribbled on it. Most of the blasts were caused by cylinder bombs, and some

were packed in plastic bags. Each weighed around 1 kg.

No group has so far taken responsibility, though intelligence officials are probing the role of Indian Mujahideen. Some of its alleged activists held for the 2012 Pune blasts had reportedly confessed to planning an attack on the Mahabodhi temple. Sketches of two suspects were released in the evening.

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