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

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid