Were the Sunday bomb blasts at Bodh Gaya the handiwork of the same terrorist group that set off explosions at Shitla ghat in Varanasi and other spots in Uttar Pradesh earlier?
A team of the UP Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) landed in Bodh Gaya on Monday to look into this aspect and examine the unexploded bombs recovered from the Mahabodhi temple even as the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) joined state police investigations into the serial blasts.
“Besides examining the spot, we are also collecting inputs on the Bodh Gaya attack from central intelligence agencies and the local police,” a senior officer said.
Though the Indian Mujahideen (IM) had claimed responsibility for the bomb blast at Shitlagh at on December 7, 2010 that left two people dead and 37 injured, the terrorists who carried out the attack have remained elusive.
“A prototype bomb was used at Shitla ghat,” a police officer said and added, “It was a new mechanism.”
The terrorists might have selected Shitla Ghat to check the effectiveness of the new bomb, a police officer said and added earlier too the terrorist groups tested bombs in Uttar Pradesh before hitting other cities in the country.
On July 28, 2005, terrorists triggered a blast in a coach of the Shramjeevi Express at Harpalpur in Jaunpur district. After testing the bomb, the terrorists carried out serial blasts in Delhi and Mumbai the same year.
Again, the terrorists used a new mechanism to trigger bomb blasts in Varanasi on March 7, 2006 when several people died in explosions at the Sankatmochan temple and Cantoment Railway station. Soon, similar strikes were carried out in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Bengaluru.
On November 23, 2007, a dozen people were killed and 61 injured in a bomb blast on district court premises in Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad.
“This was again a prelude to serial blasts across the country,” a police officer said.
Earlier, there were serial blasts in Gorakhpur on May 22, 2007.