Devotees throng Bodh Gaya temple as it reopens to public

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 08, 2013 20:56 hrs
Nine blasts rock Bodh Gaya

A day after the Bodh Gaya temple was rocked by serial explosions, the Buddhists' holiest shrine reopened to the public on Monday with devotees in large number thronging there and monks from 50 countries holding a special prayer for return of peace.

Thousands of people thronged the temple immediately after the gate was opened at 6pm, Arvind Singh, a member of Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC), said.

"The visitors are allowed to enter the temple after thorough search by Bihar police and temple management committee security staff," he said.

Earlier, Buddhist monks from 50 countries held a special prayer inside Bodh Gaya temple for return of peace after 10 explosions that left two injured. The monks from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar and other countries participated in the one-hour prayer Arvind Singh said.

Head of monasteries of different countries also attended the prayer. The Bodh Gaya has Buddhist monasteries of 50 countries.

Cong-BJP sparring over Bodh Gaya blasts

The serial blasts in Bodh Gaya led to a political slugfest between the Congress and the BJP with Digvijaya Singh targeting Narendra Modi, saying the incident happened a day after he asked BJP workers to teach a lesson to Nitish Kumar.

"Aren't they suggesting a Muslim involvement without full investigation? Flip side of this. Amit Shah promises a Grand Temple at Ayodhya...Modi addresses Bihar BJP workers and asks them to teach Nitish a lesson. Next day Bomb Blasts at Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya...Is there a connect? I don't know. ALLOW NIA TO COMPLETE INVESTIGATION PLEASE !," Singh said in his tweets posted one after one in the same order.

Singh's tweets triggered instant reaction from the BJP with party's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad accusing Singh of politicising and communalising terrorism.

"The Congress general secretary's "record of politicising and communalising terrorism is too well-known," he said.

Prasad said he had raised only "legitimate concerns" regarding the serial blasts about repeated intelligence inputs being ignored and that nine timer bombs could be installed by terrorists.

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the way the terrorists are "fearlessly engaging in terror activities, our country has become a safe pasture for their nefarious acts. In such a situation, the Congress instead of fighting terror is spending all its energy in fighting its political opponents."

Singh, who is not new to controversies also attacked Modi and BJP in his tweets for "suggesting a Muslim involvement without full investigation?" into the Sunday blasts at Mahabodhi temple that left two monks injured.

Dismissing BJP's charge, Congress said all the five posts of Singh on Twitter need to be understood in entirety.

Stay calm, Karmappa says

Tibetan spiritual leader Karmappa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has appealed to his followers not to get provoked by the series of bomb blasts at Bodh Gaya and refrain from any act that might escalate violence.

"I was deeply saddened and hurt to know about the wanton act of violence perpetrated at Mahabodhi temple yesterday in Bodh Gaya and as yet, we do not know why or by whom this sacred site was targeted," Karmappa, a frequent visitor to Bodh Gaya said.

"I am convinced that as Buddhists, in responding to this situation, the best homage we can pay to Lord Buddha is to uphold his teachings on love and ahimsa (nonviolence)," said the 28-year-old monk.

"Therefore, I ask all to remain calm and refrain from any further escalation of violence and offer my prayers for the victims and their families, and call on Buddhists everywhere to truly embrace the wisdom of Lord Buddha's teachings in all that we do," he added.

More from Sify: