News / Asia

India Investigates Buddhist Site Attack

Anjana Pasricha
In India, one man has been detained in connection with a series of low intensity blasts at a prominent Buddhist holy site. Intelligence agencies are investigating possible links between Sunday's attack and the ethnic conflict between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in neighboring Burma.
    
The arrest was made Monday after police searched for clues and analyzed security camera footage from the Bodh Gaya temple complex in Bihar state.

The complex, where Buddha is believed to have gained enlightenment, is one of Buddhism’s holiest sites.
  
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said ten blasts had taken place.

He said a total of 13 bombs had been planted at the site. He says two people were injured - a 50-year-old and a 30-year-old man.

The low intensity blasts did not cause much damage to the temple complex. However they have raised concerns because it is the first time a Buddhist holy site has been hit by what authorities have termed a terror attack.

  • A Buddhist monk is carried on a stretcher for treatment after he was injured in an explosion in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, July 7, 2013.
  • An Indian security personnel walks next to bloody footprints inside the Mahabodhi temple complex, after a series of explosions at Bodh Gaya in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, July 7, 2013.
  • A bomb squad member defuses a suspected timer fitted device in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, July 7, 2013.
  • A security officer inspects the site of an explosion on the campus of the Mahabodhi Temple, the Buddhist Great Awakening temple, in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India, July 7, 2013.

Officials say Indian intelligence agencies had warned of an attack in Bodh Gaya in retaliation for alleged atrocities on Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in Burma, by the country’s Buddhist community.

However, the head of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi, Ajay Sahni, says there is no evidence to link the blasts directly to radical Rohingya Muslim groups in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. He says they are believed to have been carried out by terror groups which commonly operate in India and have been blamed for numerous other terror strikes.
  
“What has been done apparently is that groups that are linked to Pakistan’s terrorist network have made issue of the attacks against the Rohingyas in Myanmar and have been threatening that they would execute revenge against Buddhist targets. They are the same set of players, but it identifies a new set of targets. Till now Buddhist targets have not really been on their radar,” said Ajay Sahni.

Security is being tightened at Buddhist sites, most of which are located in the eastern states of Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh. Some of Buddhism’s most sacred pilgrim spots lie in India where Buddha began preaching 2,500 years ago, although the religion went on to become more popular in East Asian countries.

Bihar’s Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, vowed to tighten security at the temple site in Bodh Gaya. 

Kumar says it is a World Heritage Site and he has asked federal authorities for additional security teams to guard the complex.   
|
Thousands of pilgrims from East Asian countries such as Japan and Thailand visit Buddhist sites in India, which has been trying to tap the potential of what it calls spiritual tourism.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More