Nitish Kumar condemns blasts, seeks CISF security for temple

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Gaya, July 7: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today strongly condemned the serial blasts in and around Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya and demanded deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to protect the world famous Buddhist shrine.

"The serial blasts deserve strongest condemnation in strongest possible words as the perpetrators targeted the place of religious faith of crores of people with an aim to create fear among them," he told reporters after inspecting the blast sites at the Mahabodhi temple and surrounding areas in Gaya district with senior civil and police officials.

Kumar, however, dismissed suggestions that there was any security lapse and said adequate precautionary measures were taken to beef up security measures at the Mahabodhi temple and surrounding areas in the wake of intelligence inputs.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today strongly condemned the serial blasts in and around Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya and demanded deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to protect the world famous Buddhist shrine.

Asked about the perpetrators of the nine low-intensity serial blasts, in which two Buddhist monks sustained injuries, the Chief Minister said that the NIA and local police will probe the incident and expose the conspiracy and designs of those behind the attack.

He said it was clear that the serial blasts at the famous Buddhist shrine and surrounding areas were carried out to create fear among the pilgrims and divide society. He said that a forensic team from Patna has already rushed to the spot to collect evidence and other material proofs related to the attack.

An NIA team from Delhi will arrive here in the afternoon to probe the incident, the Chief Minister said.

Kumar, upon arrival at Bodh Gaya by a helicopter from Patna with the Chief Secretary A K Sinha and the Director General of Police (DGP) Abhayanand, visited the Mahabodhi temple to take a first-hand stock of situation at the blast sites.

With the security of the Mahabodhi temple appearing to be a daunting exercise for the state government and its forces, the Chief Minister has appealed to the Prime Minister to consider deployment of the CISF.

"The CISF is a specialised force which mans vital installations in the country.... it should also be asked to provide security at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya," he said.

About immediate security requirements at the Mahabodhi temple, the Chief Minister said that central and state security agencies will hold a review meeting at the earliest and work out security needs of the Buddhist shrine.

Though CCTV was in place at the Mahabodhi temple, it has to be made more effective in order to keep a track on the movement of people, he said. He also spoke to the Mahabodhi temple management committee officials about various aspects of the serial blasts.

He later visited the Magadh hospital and enquired about health condition of two injured monks - one of Myanmarese nationality and another of Tibetan origin.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister's visit came under protest from BJP supporters led by former Urban Development minister Prem Kumar who raised anti-government slogans, charging them with gross negligence in providing foolproof security at the Buddhist shrine.

The protesters were briefly detained by the local police, including Prem Kumar, who demanded the Chief Minister's resignation on moral grounds for terror attacks in the temple town.

PTI

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