Hours after a series of nine blasts rocked the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, sketches of two suspected perpetrators involved were released on Sunday. Meanwhile, there were reports of another live bomb being detected in between two hotels in Bodh Gaya.
Addressing a press conference, Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Abhayanand said that the security around the temple had been further stepped up, even as the prayers continued there. He, however, added that the temple would not be open for the public as of now.
Terror struck the world famous Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya where nine low-intensity serial blasts rocked the Maha Bodhi Temple complex and adjacent areas, leaving two monks injured.
The Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi tree, which is frequented by Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and Vietnam, did not suffer any damage in the blasts which shook the early morning peace of the holy town.
"While four blasts took place this morning inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, three occurred in Karmapa monastery, one each near near the famous 80-ft Buddha statue and at the bus stand near bypass," DIG Magadh range Nayyer Hussnain Khan told reporters.
The blasts took place between 5:30 to 5:58 AM, he said. In New Delhi, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami told that serial explosions inside and outside Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar were a terror attack and NIA and NSG teams have been sent for post-blasts investigations.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned the blasts, saying such attacks on religious places will "never be tolerated".
Condemning the blasts, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who visited the blast site, demanded deployment of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for security of the shrine.
"The serial blasts deserve strongest condemnation in strongest possible words as the perpetrators targeted the place of religious faith of crores of people with an aim to create fear among them," he said.
Arvind Singh, a member of Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee said the two injured included a national of Myanmar and another of Tibet. They have been admitted to Magadh Medical College and Hospital, he said.
Singh said two other bombs, one near the 80 feet statue and one at bus stand have been defused. Asked about the nature of explosives used, S K Bharadwaj, ADG (Law and Order) said they were low intensity time bombs.
"We got information about six-seven months back that there may be a terror attack on the Mahabodhi Temple. After that we had beefed up security and deployed extra forces".
"At Bodh Gaya temple, the police security arrangements are only outside the temple while the security inside is looked after by temple trust officials," police said.
"The sanctum sanctorum of the Mahabodhi Temple is intact. The temple premises have been sanitised," they said. An official of the Bodh Gaya committee said, "There were four blasts inside the temple premises.
Fortunately, there was no damage to the Bodhi Tree or the main temple structure." "In the first blast which took place near the Bodhi tree, a table was blown up because of which two persons were injured.
The second blast, I think, was inside the enclosure where books were kept. The furniture was damaged but there was no damage to the monuments or statues," he said.
Bodh Gaya Buddhist temple, around 10 km from Gaya and 100 km from capital Patna, is world famous. Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment here under the Mahabodhi tree in the temple premises.