Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde Wednesday cited the use of small LPG cylinders in Sunday’s serial blasts in Bihar’s Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya, to hint at the likelihood of a "local angle" in the incident.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde addresses the media during his visit to Bodh Gaya with UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. ANI
Addressing the media after visiting the blast cites at Mahabodhi temple complex with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior Congress leader Ambika Soni, Shinde expressed the centre’s reluctance to deploy the CISF for the security of the Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh Gaya.
"We have received a request from the Bihar government for this purpose. But so far, the CISF has not been deployed for the security of religious places although we have received several such requests, including one for the Sai Baba temple at Shirdi. So, we will have to examine the matter in detail before taking a call," he said.
Regretting that Lord Buddha’s abode of peace, of all places, had been chosen for the blasts, Shinde said the NIA had formally taken over the serial blast investigations Tuesday night, soon after the centre received a Bihar government request letter in this regard.
"We are investigating the blasts from all angles. But we are not in a hurry to make any arrest till we have adequate reason to do so," said Shinde, who was flanked by the UPA chairperson and Soni.
The home minister also revealed an aircraft carrying an NIA team to Bodh Gaya had to return owing to inclement weather. This was why the team could reach Bodh Gaya only around 4 pm Sunday, almost 11 hours after the blasts.
"We have visited all the places. 10 out of 13 bombs went off...Small gas cylinders of two to three kilos and nails and ball-bearings were filled and connected with detonators and a watch was kept. All this happened between 5am to 6am. They must have kept (bombs) at night.
"We are conducting complete investigations. Three-four people may be involved...with a car. We are conducting detailed investigations," Shinde said.
Shinde spoke to the media after visiting the blast sites, including the Terger Monastry, the usual abode of the 17th Karmapa, whenever he is in town. Three of the blasts had taken place at this monastry.
Immediately before the press conference, the home minister and the UPA chairperson held a meeting in the Mahabodhi temple complex with top state and central security officials and temple management committee members.
Representing the Bihar government during the Shine and Gandhi visit to Bodh Gaya was minority affairs ministeer Shahid Ali Khan.