IM, Rohingya outfit under scanner for Bodh Gaya blasts

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Bodh Gaya
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  • Updated: Jul 09, 2013 02:40 IST
  • Bodh Gaya prayers

    Buddhist monks offer prayers a day after a series of blasts hit Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya at the site. (AP Photo)

  • Bodh Gaya prayers

    Buddhist monks offer prayers for peace at Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya a day after serial explosions at the site. (PTI Photo)

  • Mahabodhi prayers

    Buddhist monks offer prayers at Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya a day after serial explosions at the site. (PTI Photo)

  • Bodh Gaya blasts

    Gujarat Police Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad inspect Hindu devotees as they arrive at the Lord Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad a day after serial blasts ...

  • Bodh Gaya blasts

    National security guards inspect the site a day after the serial blasts in Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya. (AP Photo)

  • Bodh Gaya blasts

    A National Security Guard (NSG) soldier collects the evidence from the site of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya a day after the serial blasts. ...

  • Bodh Gaya blasts

    A national security guard soldier collects the evidence from the site of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya a day after the serial blasts. (AP ...

  • Bodh Gaya blasts

    An NSG expert collecting samples at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodh Gaya a day after serial blasts in the temple. (PTI Photo)

  • Bodh Gaya blasts

    NSG and NIA experts collecting samples at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodh Gaya a day after serial blasts in the temple. (PTI Photo)

  • Bodh Gaya prayers

    Buddhist monks gather to offer prayers at Bodh Gaya Tergar monastery in Bodh Gaya a day after the serial blasts. (AP Photo)

Home-grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen and radicals among Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims are under the scanner for the series of blasts that rocked Mahabodhi Temple and nearby areas in Bodh Gaya on Sunday even as the lone “suspect” in the case failed to yield much.

Poor quality of the footage of the 16 functional CCTVs installed in one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines has complicated the job of the investigators still looking for a breakthrough.

“The suspicion is on IM as it had issued a threat earlier also, but we are exploring all angles,” a senior NIA official told HT in Bodh Gaya.

Sources in Intelligence Bureau claimed their interest in Myanmar’s Arakan region grew after the R&AW sent inputs about the return of the two founders of the Rohingya Solidarity Association (RSO) — a welfare organisation that has turned militant — to the region in early January.

Arakanese and Rohingya Muslims have clashed a number of times. Animosity toward the Muslim group is widespread among Arakanese, many of whom consider them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

NSG and NIA experts at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodh Gaya on Monday, a day after serial blasts in the temple. PTI Photo

“The founders of the outfit -- Maulana Anwar and Dr Younus -- were away to London and Saudi Arabia to create financial channels and to arrange funding,” said an official.

Intelligence reports talk of one Nur Bashar, a Pakistan-based al Qaeda operative, visiting Bangaldesh this year to train Rohingya cadre in bomb-making.

NSG experts at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodh Gaya on July 8, 2013, a day after serial blasts rocked the temple. PTI Photo

Counter-terror investigators found that 13 improvised explosive devices –- three of them didn’t go off -- were used in the Sunday’s blast. Each of the 13 LPG cylinders weighed 2.5 kg and was packed with 2kg of ammonium nitrate and detonators. A team of the National Security Guard, which picked up samples from the area, has sent its report to the home ministry. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/7/09_07_13-metro1b.gif

Cheap analogue clocks of Lotus brand were used as timers, with labels in Urdu and English stuck on cylinders identifying the places they were meant for.

The IM used gas cylinders in 2008 Ahmedabad blasts.Terrorists were able to sneak in 13 bombs weighing nearly 65 kg in to the temple complex without being noticed though 22 police and anti-insurgency force personnel were on security duty, sources told HT.

A bag containing saffron monk robes, a knife, electrical tape were recovered with a voter I-card and diary of one Vinod Mistry from the complex.  “The NIA also interrogated him, but Mistry says he lost his I-card three days ago and did not know how it reached the temple,” Gaya SSP Ganesh Kumar said.

Foreign Buddhist monks offer prayers for peace at Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya on July 8, 2013, a day after serial explosions at the temple. PTI Photo

While investigators have sent teams to IM’s hotbed of Darbhanga, there is no conclusive proof despite the fact that arrested operatives Asad Khan and Syed Maqbool told interrogators last October that the outfit’s founder Riyaz Bhatkal had asked them to target Mahabodhi temple to avenge sectarian violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. It is known that Lashkar is training the radical elements among the Rohingya Muslims.

Tehsim Akhtar of Darbhanga, an aide of IM group leader Yasin Bhatkal, who has been absconding since Chinnaswamy stadium blast in Bangalore is a suspect.

(With inputs from Jatin Anand, Arun Kumar, Ruchir Kumar)

 

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