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Bodhgaya serial blasts: After ‘IM’ arrests last year,temple was known as target

16 CCTVs had been installed on the premises,but only one could record Sunday's explosions and images of a possible suspect.

Written by Prawesh Lama | New Delhi |
July 8, 2013 4:36:28 am

After warnings of a possible terror attack at Bodhgaya temple,16 CCTVs had been installed on the premises,but only one could record Sunday’s explosions and images of a possible suspect. Probe agencies are banking on this footage to provide the first breakthrough in the case.

The alert was sounded following “confessions” by Indian Mujahideen (IM) suspects caught by the Delhi Police between August and October last year for involvement in the 2012 Pune blasts. They allegedly revealed that they planned to target Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad and Bodhgaya temple in Bihar. The suspects also claimed to have discussed Pune court and jail as targets. Related: Blasts at Bodhgaya,2 hurt

Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officers had also said at the time that interrogation of the IM men had revealed Bodhgaya and Dilsukhnagar as targets.

However,the warning appears to have failed to prevent either the February 2013 attack in Dilkushnagar,or the Sunday blasts in Bodhgaya.

In his statement to the Delhi Police,Sayed Maqbool,a resident of Nanded in Maharashtra,had allegedly said that he along with others planned to carry out suicide attacks on Buddhist shrines in Bodhgaya as a retaliation to the alleged atrocities being committed upon Muslims in Myanmar. Their plan apparently had the approval of the Bhatkal brothers — Riyaz and Iqbal. Related: Dalai Lama,Tibetan govt express shock

In an official release dated October 26,2012,the Delhi Police said: “….sustained interrogation of the accused arrested by us revealed that a person Sayed Maqbool was in close association with (the four previously arrested terrorists) and together they planned to commit fidayeen attacks on the Buddhist shrines in Bodh Gaya in Bihar as retaliation to the alleged atrocities being committed upon Muslims in Myanmar”.

While the alleged IM men had carried out a recce in Hyderabad,they didn’t make a similar trip to Bodhgaya.

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar had said at the time that they had informed their Bihar counterparts about the claims of the alleged IM men.

Soon after the Sunday attacks at Bodhgaya,Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami held a meeting with Intelligence Bureau officials and a team of officers from the NIA and NSG were rushed to the spot in a special aircraft. However,the team was unable to reach due to bad weather midway,and the members were sent later by commercial flights.

Goswami said no group had claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde,who was at Solapur in Maharashtra,spoke to Goswami.

The ministry has termed the blasts a “terror” attack and issued an advisory to all states to ensure security at Buddhist shrines and Tibetan settlements. Based on an intelligence report,states have been told to beef up security mechanism and personnel strength at the police stations concerned.

The advisory also asked states to deploy a large number of police personnel and ensure regular CCTV monitoring of places frequented by foreigners.

The ministry added that cities like Delhi,Mumbai,Kolkata,Ahmedabad,Chennai,Bangalore,Hyderabad and Pune continue to be under the terror radar.

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