Unwilling to take any chances in the aftermath of the serial bomb blasts in Bodh Gaya on July 7, the authorities are set to turn this Buddhist pilgrimage town into a fortress for the ensuing prayer season.
A slew of prayer programmes are lined up in the south-central Bihar town between December and February, beginning with the 10-day Tripitaka chanting ceremony from December 2.
With 1500-2000 delegates from 10 countries expected to participate, the district administration is leaving no stone unturned to ensure top-notch security in the town.
Five people, including two Buddhist monks, were injured by the July 7 blasts, several of which occurred at the Mahabodhi temple, among the holiest of all Buddhist shrines.
The district administration is taking the Tripitaka chanting ceremony as a ‘tester’ to the real ‘big draw’ — the 15-day Kaygu Monlan ceremony, expected to attract 20,000 international delegates, including the Karmapa. The peak carnival time will round off with Bodh Mahotsav in February.
The administration has chalked out a three-layer security arrangement. Two companies of the Bihar military police maintain a 24x7 vigil at the Mahabodhi shrine and the boundary wall of the temple campus was being raised.
“Four door-frame metal detectors have been put in place and all pilgrims are being frisked”, Gaya district magistrate and chairman of the Bodh Gaya temple management committee Balamurugan D told HT.
SSP Nishant Kumar Tiwary said: “Intimation about any foreigner checking into any hotel or monastery has to be sent to the police. We have also advised them to inform us about any unattended baggage.”