HAF Condemns Attack on Sacred Buddhist Shrine in India

Washington, D.C. (July 8, 2013) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) condemned Sunday’s terrorist attack at the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in the Gaya district of Bihar, India. Alleged terrorists belonging to the Indian Mujahideen, an India-based Islamic militant group that has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”, are suspected to have carried out the attack using low intensity explosive devices injuring several and damaging the property. The Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for a number of previous terrorist attacks targeting civilians throughout India.
"We are highly disturbed by this callous attack on Bodh Gaya and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured,” said Swaminathan Venkataraman, HAF’s Mumbai-based Executive Council member. “Although the temple itself was not damaged, we call on the Indian authorities to quickly seek out those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Bodh Gaya is one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines, where Siddharth Gautam visited as a wandering ascetic in the 5th Century BC and achieved enlightenment, thus becoming the Buddha. In Hinduism, the Buddha is regarded as the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Indian authorities apprehended one suspect linked to the Indian Mujahideen in Kolkata, West Bengal and uncovered an additional live bomb on the Bodh Gaya premises. Anonymous sources claimed that government officials provided information to Bodh Gaya administrators on an imminent threat to the complex several months before the attack.
"It is imperative for the Indian government to provide ample security to places of pilgrimage throughout the country,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Director and Senior Human Rights Fellow. “Additionally, we hope that temple and pilgrimage site administrators will heed warnings from government officials in an effort to prevent such attacks.”