The attack could be used to target Muslims in the country in order to gain political polarisation before the coming general election, and unleash a new wave of violence against Muslims in Myanmar

Religious leaders and peace activists across the country have appealed to people to view the terror attack in Bodh Gaya as an act of misguided criminals and not to speculate — that it could have been a retaliation to attacks on Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims — until a proper probe is completed.

Condemning the bomb blasts, in which three persons were injured, the signatories to a statement on Tuesday said they were deeply pained and shocked by the heinous terror attack targeting innocent people at a place of great spiritual and historical significance and unequivocally condemned the dastardly act of crime against humanity.

Referring to speculation that the attack could be in retaliation to attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, they said all such speculations should be discouraged till proper investigation was conducted and the identity of culprits firmly established.

The attack, they felt, could be used to target Muslims in the country in order to gain political polarisation before the coming general election, and unleash a new wave of violence against Muslims in Myanmar, who were already suffering grave violence and untold sufferings for years.

Lakhs had to flee Myanmar to save their lives over the past years. This mindless action, the signatories to the appeal said, might also make scores of Rohingya refugees around the world vulnerable and open to retaliatory attacks in different countries where they had taken refuge.

The statement urged the government to initiate a speedy, professional and thorough probe to apprehend the culprits and expose and punish both the perpetrators and conspirators behind the dreadful act.

The signatories to the statement were film maker Mahesh Bhatt; Swami Agnivesh, Arya Samaj, New Delhi; Mazher Hussain and Sardar Nanak Singh Nishtar, Confederation of Voluntary Associations, Hyderabad; D. Yadiah, Boudhik Pramukh, All India Samata Sainik Dal; Binayak Sen, People’s Union for Civil Liberties; Kamla Bhasin, New Delhi; Maulana Syed Shah Hamid Hussain Shutari, All India Sunni Ulema Board; Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, Delhi Catholic Church, New Delhi; Ram Punyani, All India Secular Forum, Mumbai; Zafar Mahmood, Zakat Foundation, New Delhi; Ilina Sen, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Hasan Mansoor, PUCL, Bangalore; Sandeep Panday, ASHA, Lucknow; A. Faizur Rahman, Islamic Forum for Promotion of Moderate Thought, Chennai, and Iqbal Ahmad Engineer, Centre for Peace and True Message, Hyderabad.

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