India Police Detain 1 over Buddhist Shrine Blasts

By The Associated Press 9 July 2013

PATNA, India — One man has been detained and sketches of two others have been prepared as investigators searched for clues Monday into a series of blasts at some of Buddhism’s holiest sites in eastern India.

Two people were wounded in the eight blasts that went off Sunday in and around the main temple complex in Bodh Gaya, the town where the Buddha is believed to have gained enlightenment.

The Mahabodhi or Great Awakening Temple is the main shrine in the town and has been declared a Unesco world heritage site. Another explosion took place in an empty tourist bus parked near the temple complex.

Senior police officer S.K. Bhardwaj said Monday that police had detained a man whose identification documents had been found at one of the sites. He provided no further details about the detained man or the sketches of two other people investigators would like to find.

Local magistrate Balamurugan said the temple complex would reopen later Monday after monks held a special prayer. Balamurugan uses one name.

Federal Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that federal investigators had flown to Bodh Gaya and were in charge of the probe.

The Mahabodhi Temple is adjacent to the Banyan tree believed to have grown from a sapling of the same tree the Buddha meditated under. Bodh Gaya is one of Buddhism’s four most sacred sites and every year large number of pilgrims, especially from Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma visit, though the main pilgrimage starts in September.

The entire town is dotted with temples built with donations from Buddhists all over the world.