Security at Mahabodhi temple was inadequate

Security at Mahabodhi temple was inadequate

Before Sunday’s explosions on the Mahabodhi Temple premises in Bodh Gaya, anyone could walk through the door-frame metal detector and enter the complex without being questioned. Only two private armed guards manned the entrance, but none of
the visitors were frisked.

Despite two alerts issued by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Home Ministry in the last six months about possible attacks on Mahabodhi Mahavihara, a world heritage site, the security remained  as lax as ever.

While the first alert was issued in October 2012, the second warning came as recently as June 2013, when it was specifically pointed  out that two terrorists - Sarful Rehman and Sahidur Rehman - had sneaked into Bihar to execute the blasts.

The Rehman brothers are from Bihar but settled in Scotland and Saudi Arabia respectively.

Intelligence sources said the brothers were in constant touch with Indian Mujahideen mastermind Yasin Bhatkal.

Following the June alert, Gaya DIG Nayyar Hassnain Khan and Senior SP Ganesh Kumar held a review meeting with members of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC).

CCTV surveillance

The committee was asked to strengthen security and keep a tab on CCTV footage. The temple has 22 CCTVs, out of which 16 are functional.

Till Sunday, the security of the Buddhist shrine was in the hands of the nine-member BTMC. It is headed by the Gaya district magistrate. Four members are Buddhists, while the rest are non-Buddhists.

A tussle is also going on within the BTMC, with the Buddhist monks fighting for total control of the temple. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.

A day after the attack, the temple premises have been put under strict surveillance of the Bihar Police, CRPF and Cobra personnel.

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