Monday, July 8, 2013

Multiple blasts at Buddhist sites in Bodh Gaya must be taken as a warning

Eight synchronised blasts at Buddhist holy sites in Bodh Gaya leave no doubt that they were targets of a terror attack. All the more so because intelligence inputs have been received, over the last six months, of the Mahabodhi temple complex being on a target list for terrorists. That the terrorists slipped through and managed to plant at least eight bombs despite such warnings only highlights the inefficiency of the police and the security apparatus. The only saving grace is that the multiple blasts took place early in the morning on a Sunday, limiting injuries to two.

Authorities, however, must not derive solace from that fact but rather redouble efforts to capture the perpetrators. The history of terror attacks in India shows that terrorists have been able to get away with multiple outrages before they are nabbed. In investigating the source of the attacks, all possibilities need to be kept in mind. But it's noteworthy that alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives arrested for a failed attack in Pune last year acknowledged having scoped out Buddhist sites in Bodh Gaya for a future attack, their motive being revenge for riots against Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist Myanmar. Moreover, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed has linked the Indian government to attacks on Muslims in Myanmar.

Nitish Kumar is said to have wrought a revolution in Bihar by improving law and order, but this is one instance where the state's law and order machinery failed. However, mud-slinging is not advisable. In view of the terror threat looming over the country, security must be taken seriously rather than politicised. Terror is an existential threat facing the country. It's time opposing parties as well as Centre and states pulled together on this.
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