Three to four terrorists might have placed the bombs, say investigators

While the bomb blasts in Bodh Gaya is first-of-its kind terror attack on a Buddhist temple in India, the use of small cylinders, explosives and timers is also a new kind of improvised devices that were used in Sunday’s blasts. Investigators have also indicated that at least three to four terrorists might be involved in placing the crude bombs in and around the historic temple complex.

In their initial report sent to the Union Home Ministry, bomb experts from the National Security Guard have indicated that the small cylinders were packed with a deadly combination of ammonium nitrate, sulphur and potassium. The coordinated low-intensity blasts might have been carried out by using analogue clock timers. This was a new kind of improvised bomb created by terrorists after pressure-cookers, Home Ministry sources said.

Each cylinder that was converted into an improvised device might be around 4-5 kg in weight, and to place such bombs in the complex fitted with CCTV cameras would have required a group to carry out the task, they added.

Help from ‘insiders’

Pointing out that these bombs might have been carried in big bags or cartons, sources said probe agencies were also looking at involvement of “insiders” who might have helped terrorists to take inside the temple complex these bombs by hoodwinking private security guards deployed by the temple management.

Referring to security lapse and lack of preparedness on part of the authorities concerned, a senior MHA official said Bodh Gaya was the target of the terrorists and the Centre had repeatedly alerted the Bihar government, the last one being on July 2. But the Bihar police failed to come up with a security plan with the temple management to avert the blasts, he added.

NIA still assisting police

Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency has not yet taken over the probe and is still assisting the Bihar police in investigations. The MHA official also said the Union Home Ministry was yet to receive a formal request from the Bihar government for providing Central Industrial Security Force security cover for the temple complex. “When we receive the request, the Home Ministry will certainly consider it,” the official added.

Referring the issue of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) that has been hanging fire due to opposition from non-Congress ruled States, including Bihar, the official hoped that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar might now soften his stand and support the agency that would help fight terrorism in a better way. “The delay in setting up of NCTC will continue to hamper the government’s anti-terror initiatives. The sooner those oppose it realise its importance, the better for the country,” the official added.

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