Bodhgaya Blasts: Handiwork of LET-IM Combine?

Was the attack on Lord Buddha shrine at Bodhgaya a handiwork of LET and IM?  The preliminary description of the modus-operandi in the serial blast at Bodhgaya point to that pattern; however, what is most disturbing is that the Bihar government took warnings of both Delhi police Commissioner and the NIA quite lightly and there were not adequate precautions taken to prevent such a ghastly incident.

That Bodhgaya has been on the hit list of the radical Muslim groups across the border is well known. The entire world has seen what the Taliban did to Lord Buddha’s statue in Kabuk and how they destroyed all Buddhist structure there. The sectarian violence in Myanmar since 2011 and the atrocities committed on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have prompted these groups for retaliation and today’s incident was one such example.

According to top intelligence sources, the alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives arrested for their role in the failed Pune bombings of August 1 last year had told interrogators that they did a recce of Bodhgaya with an intention to carry out a fidayeen (suicide) attack on the Buddhist shrines there in order to take revenge. Their plan was approved by top IM leaders-Iqbal and Riyaz Bhatkal. Two of the arrested operatives-Syed Maqbool and Imran had done recce of Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar also which was attacked in February this year. In fact after the Dilsukhnagar blasts, the Union Home Ministry had sent an alert again to Bihar to strengthening security apparatus there.

Intelligence sources also reveal that Riyaz and Iqbal have long been planning to form a team of suicide attackers. In fact before the Batla house encounter of September 2008 they had asked Atif Ameen, then their top operative, to look for suitable boys. They had named it Shaheed Al Zarqawi brigade on Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, who was once a top al Qaeda commander in Iraq. The US forces neutralized him in June 2006. But after the killing of Atif Ameen in the Batla House encounter, the plan couldn’t get materialized.

Last month also, the intelligence agencies had warned that that fringe elements would try to target Buddhist shrines in India in retaliation to attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine province. In their perception, the Government of India had done precious little to take up the plight of Muslim minority there.

In July last year, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, linked to the al-Qaeda, threatened to attacks Buddhists to avenge the recent communal violence in Myanmar.  The Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune had quoted on July 26, 2012 that” Tahreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had threatened to attack Burmese interests if Pakistan did not cut off its diplomatic relations with Myanmar.”

Last month, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed publicly accused India of helping Myanmar to eliminate Muslims. In this context, one could see  Saeed’s five tweets on 14th June where he clearly hinted at his intentions. They were

1) The Indian government is working in cahoots with Burmese government to wipe out the Muslim population of Burma.
2) The prevailing silence of international community on this issue of Burma is saddening. It is also an obligation on the whole Muslim Ummah to defend the rights and honour of Rohingya Muslims in Burma.
3) It is a moral responsibility of the newly elected government to take practical measures for stopping this genocide of Muslims in Burma.
4) We would work for consensus between all religious and political parties on Burma.
5) Muslim rulers must unite and raise their voice for the genocide of Muslims in Burma at the UN Security Council.”

The savage Buddhist killing of Muslim minorities enraged by the killing of a monk in March had resulted in the slaughter of 36 Muslims at Meikhtila State of Myanmar. International rights groups say the lack of justice fuels impunity among Buddhist mobs and pave the way for more violence. It also reflects the reality that despite Myanmar’s bid to reform, power remains concentrated in the hands of an ethnic Burman, Buddhist elite that dominates all branches of government.

The Buddhist majority’s ire has been aimed at ethnic Rohingya Muslims, who have lived in Myanmar for generations but are still viewed by many Buddhists as foreign interlopers from Bangladesh. The hatred has since morphed into a monk-led campaign against all Muslims, seen as “enemies” •

The Buddhist extremist movement in Myanmar, known as 969, portrays itself as a grassroots creed. Its chief proponent, a monk named Wirathu, was once jailed by the former military junta for anti-Muslim violence and once called himself the “Burmese bin Laden.”

The origin of 969’s is traced to an official in the dictatorship that once ran Myanmar, and which is the direct predecessor of today’s reformist government. The 969 movement now enjoys support from senior government officials, establishment monks and even some members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), the political party of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Anti-Muslim unrest simmered under the junta that ran the country for nearly half a century. But the worst fighting has occurred since the quasi-civilian government took power in March 2011.Two outbursts in Rakhine State last year killed at least 192 people and left 140,000 homeless, mostly stateless Rohingya Muslims. Organized attacks on Muslims last October were led by Rakhine nationalists incited by Buddhist monks and sometimes abetted by local security forces. In March this year, at least 44 people died and 13,000 were displaced.

he numbers 969, innocuous in themselves, refer to attributes of the Buddha, his teachings and the monkhood. But 969 monks have been providing the moral justification for a wave of anti-Muslim bloodshed that could scuttle Myanmar’s nascent reform program. Officially, Myanmar has no state religion, but its rulers have long put Buddhism first. Muslims make up an estimated 4 percent of the populace. Buddhism is followed by 90 percent of the country’s 60 million people and is promoted by a special department within the ministry of religion created during the junta.

While  the Government of India has not been involved in the internal affairs of Myanmar, LET Chief has been always harping on Indian involvement in the liquidation f of Rohingya Muslim at Rakhine State in Myanmar and that is how he has been spiting venom against India at every given opportunity. Today,s blast at this 1,500-year-old revered shrine were a pointer to domestic turmoil within Myanmar spilling into India. Ominous signals.

The Bodhgaya incident is a clear indication that the terrorist groups from across the border have widened their attack of ambit and they have included Buddhist community also in their Jehad.

Secondly, Indian government, despite all its claims, has not been able to rein in on home grown terrorist modules like HUJI and IM which has been operating as agents of LET and Jamat-Ud Dawa.

It also speaks volumes about the perennial weakness of the Indian systemic – the institutional eco-system that deals with the complex challenge of internal security – the inability of the central agencies and the state police to work in harmony and provide actionable intelligence that can enable prevention, pre-emption of such attacks.

The failure to prevent this  blast could also  attributed to the “recent stand-off between the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) led to valuable and limited human resources being expended on inter-agency rivalry, while more serious internal security challenges get neglected.”

It is no secret that there is huge amount of consternation and outrage among IB field officers who don’t want to venture out in the field on ‘ sensitive assignments” because of the fear of reprisal and apprehension by agencies like CBI and the Court.

It also speaks a lot about the alacrity of police force in Bihar which has proved incapable of handling such incidents. Video footage of non-functional CCTV cameras and a rather primitive and inefficient kind of Bandobast clearly indicate a lack of seriousness on the part of local police authorities.

The biggest question is when the Indian government would learn to deal with such elements with a firm hand and how long can we go on politicizing such incidents on party lines for some political gains. India would continue to remain like a sitting duck if such kind of lethargy and lack of determination to fight these subversive elements persists and terrorist groups would continue to target any part of the country at will.

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