Immediately after the blasts at Bodh Gaya Mahbodhi Temple on 8 July 2013, a statement was released: these blasts had been carried out by Indian Mujahideen operatives avenge atrocities by Buddhists on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. This is has now become routine. After every blast such statements are made about the involvement of some Pakistan-based group or another group with a Muslim identity and later the truth, like the involvement of the ilk of Swami Aseemanand for example, regularly emerges. There was a strong suspicion among those who have been following the acts of terror from with a critical eye that the Bodh Gaya terror act might have something to do with Nitish Kumar walking out of NDA since Narendra Modi was appointed the campaign committee chief by the BJP for the 2014 parliamentary elections. In an address to Bihar BJP workers, Modi did talk of “teaching Nitish Kumar a lesson”. One knows that Modi is likely to be projected as the next prime ministerial candidate by the BJP.
As far as Indian Mujahideen – which was the first organization to be named by some investigation agencies, and BJP immediately lapped it up – is concerned, many doubts have been raised about its role, its controllers, and so on. In the same way, SIMI has been the major whipping boy at the hands of the investigation agencies. Earlier, SIMI was banned, too, but when the ban was challenged, Justice Lata Mittal Tribunal found no reason to ban it.
From the BJP camp, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The media is saying that they [the perpetrators of the German Bakery explosion in Pune] had done a recce of the temple at Bodh Gaya. There were warnings but no precaution was taken.” In contrast, the Congress spokesperson Digvijaya Singh said that such statements were an attempt to polarize the communities and the non-BJP governments had to be more careful, more so Nitish Kumar.
One major aspect that is being underplayed is Vinod Mistry, a carpenter, whose ID card and bag were found on the spot. In the bag was the robe of a Buddhist monk. What is the inference of this? Rihai Manch, a forum for the release of innocent Muslims jailed on the charge of carrying out terror attacks, points out that the mention of a name called Vinod Mistry in this case, the finding of clothes normally worn by Buddhist monks in his possession, and the letters in Urdu discovered from the temple indicates that an attempt was made to stage a ‘Malegaon’ in Bodh Gaya. In Malegaon, a fake beard was found out and later it was discovered that the real culprits belonged to the RSS.
On the Indian political chessboard, the organizations inspired by the ‘Hindu nation’ ideology have been at the forefront in many acts of terror. The involvement of Swami Aseemanand, Swami Dayanand, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and company leaves no doubt about the role of Hindutva in terror attacks. The mistaken hypothesis that all terrorists are Muslims kept protecting them and deflecting the line of investigation in wrong directions. What is needed is an unbiased objective approach, a professionally carried out investigation and punishing of the guilty. It is unfortunate that the temple associated with Gautama Buddha has been targeted. The baseless linking of this terror attack to Rohingya Muslims should be shunned till the investigations reveal something substantive.
Published in the August 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine