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News updated at 1:34 AM IST

Special Task Force to guard Bodh Gaya temple

Gaya, Oct 30, 2012, (IANS) 15:47 IST
The security of Bodh Gaya's 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi Temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine, has been handed over to the special task force (STF) of the Bihar Police in view of threats of a possible terrorist attack, police said Tuesday.

"Now, 25 armed STF jawans would keep a close watch on the movement of visitors, mostly domestic and foreign tourists, and keep a vigil on the temple premises," said Gaya's Senior Superintendent of Police Vinay Kumar.

Deputy Superintendent of Police R.K. Dubey, who is monitoring the security, said it was the first time that Bodh Gaya temple was being provided security cover by the STF.

According to an official in the district administration, the temple's security was handed over to the STF after Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BGTMC) secretary N. Dorjee expressed unhappiness over the existing security system, terming it "inadequate".

Dorjee Sunday apprehended that the flow of foreign tourists might be affected following the terror threat to the temple and made it clear that BGTMC would make its own security arrangements at the temple.

About a fortnight ago, security was beefed up in and around the temple after three operatives of Indian Mujahideen, arrested in Delhi, revealed that the Bodh Gaya temple, located 110 km from state capital Patna, was on their radar.

Buddhist monks and some local residents also said that security arrangements in and around the temple suffered from several shortcomings.

Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.

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