Attack on Mahabodhi temple shouldn’t be considered serious: The Dalai Lama

DHARAMSHALA, July 7: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that today’s terror attacks on the Mahabodhi Temple and other sites in Bodhgaya could be an act of a few individuals and shouldn’t be considered serious.

The Dalai Lama who turned 78 yesterday was responding to questions by reporters in the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe in south India.

He called the attacks “very sad” while noting that it could be an act of a “few individuals” and “shouldn’t be considered something serious.”

Two people have been injured in a series of blasts that rocked the Mahabodhi temple and the Tergar Monastery, residence of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje in Bodhgaya, early Sunday morning.

The first blast took place inside the Mahabodhi temple at around 5:30 am, followed by seven successive explosions in the next half hour. According to Dorji, secretary of the Bodhgaya committee, there were in total four blasts inside the temple premises.

“Fortunately, there was no damage to the Bodhi Tree or the main temple structure," he told reporters. “In the first blast which took place near the Bodhi tree, a table was blown up because of which two persons were injured. The second blast, I think, was inside the enclosure where books were kept. The furniture was damaged but there was no damage to the monuments or statues."

Sources have told Phayul that at least two bombs exploded inside the Tergar Monastery premises, home to around 150 monks. Another live bomb was found inside the Monastery which was later defused. No causalities have been reported from the Monastery.

Despite the blasts being not of "very high intensity," the Indian Home Ministry has called the assault on the sanctum sanctorum of Buddhists all over the world, a "terror attack."

According to reports, the central government has further directed all states to ensure fool-proof security at Buddhist shrines, Buddhist places of worship and Tibetan settlements in the wake of the attacks.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the explosions yet, reports have surfaced of an intelligence input sent by the Delhi Police in October to Bihar's Director General of Police and the Superintendent of Police in Gaya district about a possible strike on the Mahabodhi temple by terror organisation Indian Mujahideen.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condemned the terror strikes and said such attacks on religious places will "never be tolerated."

"The Prime Minister has strongly condemned the blasts in around the sacred Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya. He has said that our composite culture and traditions teach us respect for all religions and such attacks on religious places will never be tolerated," a Prime Minister's Office release said today.

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, also expressed deep sadness over the serial bomb blasts and offered prayers for those injured in the attacks in a statement today.

“I am deeply saddened to learn about the series of bomb blasts at Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, Bihar, north India. My prayers for the injured and their family members,” Sikyong Sangay said.

Millions of pilgrims from all over the world, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, visit the two millennia-old Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO Heritage site where the Buddha attained enlightenment.

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