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Blasts at Buddhist sites in east India injure 2 - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A Buddhist monk is carried on a stretcher for treatment after he was injured in an explosion in Bodhgaya, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Patna, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Bihar, Sunday, July 7, 2013 (AP Photo/Manish Bhandari)

A Buddhist monk is carried on a stretcher for treatment after he was injured in an explosion in Bodhgaya, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Patna, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Bihar, Sunday, July 7, 2013 (AP Photo/Manish Bhandari)

Patna, Associated Press—A series of blasts hit three Buddhist sites in eastern India early Sunday, injuring at least two people and drawing condemnation from the prime minister.

Senior police officer S.K. Bhardwaj said a gate at one of the two temples that was hit was badly damaged in Bodhgaya, a town 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Patna, the capital of Bihar state. No other damage was reported to the Buddhist sites.

Junior Home Minister R.P.N. Singh said that no one claimed responsibility for the explosions and that an investigation would be carried out to determine who was involved.

Four blasts took place on the grounds of the Mahabodhi Temple, or the Great Awakening Temple, Bhardwaj said. Another four explosions were reported at the nearby Karma temple and at a site with a 55-meter-tall (180-foot-tall) Buddhist tower.

Abhyanand, the director-general of state police, said the blasts ranged from low to high intensity. He also said police recovered two unexploded bombs, which were defused in the area. Abhyanand uses only one name.

A Tibetan and a pilgrim from Myanmar received minor injuries in the blast at the Mahabodhi Temple and were taken to a hospital, Bhardwaj said, adding that a temple gate was badly damaged.

Another explosion damaged an empty tourist bus parked near the Mahabodhi Temple, he said. The temple is a UNESCO world heritage site where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.

There were few people at the popular pilgrimage centers, which were targeted for the first time, Bhardwaj said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned the blasts, saying “such attacks on religious places will never be tolerated.”

The Buddhist sites attract a large number of pilgrims, especially from Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, but the main pilgrimage starts in September.
Bhardwaj said there have been intelligence reports about the possibility of attacks on the sites, but he did not give any details.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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