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Several Blasts Shake Buddhist Temple In Northeastern India

The Mahabodhi temple complex, a Buddhist pilgrimage site in northeastern India, was hit by multiple explosions, leaving two people believed to be Tibetan monks injured.

Eight blasts rocked the Bodh Gaya temple in the south of Gaya district in the state of Bihar between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 7, 2013. Two live bombs were also recovered at the blast site. One man was detained not long after the bombings, and five more suspects were picked up by the Indian national investigation agency on July 9.

Security experts say that the explosive devises could have been made from ammonium nitrate or potassium permanganate, both of which are widely available and are commonly used in bomb-making.

The disaster has been heavily politicized. The Bharatiya Janata Party called for a statewide strike the day after the blasts protesting the government's failure to fight terrorism. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee suggested that the violent acts were a “game plan before elections to disturb states, regional parties and also to plan to murder some political leaders”.

The attack was condemned by Buddhists in India and its neighboring countries. The temple is one of the four main pilgrimage sites of the Buddhists.

Bangladeshi Buddhists protesting the terror attack on Mahabodhi Gaya in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka. Image by Mohammad Asad. Copyright Demotix (8/7/2013)

Bangladeshi Buddhists protesting the terror attack on Mahabodhi Gaya in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka. Image by Mohammad Asad. Copyright Demotix (8/7/2013)

Sri Lankan-Canadian journalist and blogger D. B. S. Jeyaraj compiled Buddhist majority Sri Lanka's reactions. He reminded that there has been a historic connection between the Mahabodhi and Sri Lanka so they are also concerned:

With the advent of Turkish rule in the 13th century the Mahabodhi temple fell into a state of neglect and was virtually in ruins.

[...]

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Sri Lanka’s Anagarika Dharmapala the devout Buddhist revivalist began reclaiming the Mahabodhi Temple for Buddhists.

Subhash Gatade at Kafila blog suggested that one should look beyond the usual suspects:

One expects added caution on part of any of the experts / commentators for another important reason as well. It has been widely reported how in two of our neighbouring countries – namely Burma and Sri Lanka – Buddhist extremists have unleashed a wave of terror against the hapless Muslims. And any such news without proper confirmation that Bodh Gaya, has come under attack of Jihadi terrorists, can make matters more difficult for the minority Muslims there.

Protest rally of Buddhists in Kolkata. Image by Suman Mitra. Copyright Demotix (7/7/2013)

Protest rally of Buddhista in Kolkata. Image by Suman Mitra. Copyright Demotix (7/7/2013)

Myanmar blogger Chan (@mydaydream89) lamented the lack of worldwide attention to the explosions:

@mydaydream89: Nobody gives a damn to #Buddhism. If that #India #MahaBodhi blast was in #US or at a famous church or mosque, the world will be screaming.

Subodh Khanna ‏(@subodh1945), a retired medical representative from Kanpur, wrote:

@subodh1945: “seems blast is to announce to world they can strike anywhere in india -And wat a soft state india is” — subodh1945 http://disq.us/8dyqv9

Dr. Archwordsmith ‏(@docsaystruth) criticized the usual response to these kinds of disasters:

@docsaystruth: Condemn, criticize and compensate http://archwordsmiths.blogspot.com/2013/02/…… story after every blast in india @drrakeshparikh @abcul

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