Bodh Gaya 'bomber' caught on CCTV cameras could be of Assamese origin

Deeptiman Tiwary, TNN | Jul 22, 2013,

NEW DELHI: Even though Indian Mujahideen (IM) and its Bihar module have been put under scanner in connection with the Bodh Gaya blasts, investigations indicate that the suspected bomber caught on CCTV cameras may be of Assamese origin.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the July 7 terror attacks at the Buddhist shrine, has got some clues that point in the direction of the north-east state. "Although there is a suspicion on a module from Bihar being involved, there are indications that the bomber could be Assamese. Witnesses, who saw him, have told us so. However, investigations are still on and the bomber could turn out to be from anywhere, including Bihar," said an NIA officer.

The agency had last week released two sketches of the suspected bomber recreated from CCTV footages and eyewitness accounts.

Significantly, the Rakhine Buddhist-Rohingiya Muslim confrontation of last year, which has been the trigger for a larger Buddhist-Muslim confrontation in several parts of Asia, had coincided with Bodo-Muslim confrontation in lower Assam.

Intelligence agencies had then expressed fear Rohingya refugees could add another insurgency to an already volatile mix of Assam. It was also said that the outflow of Rohingya refugees could lead to stronger contacts between Myanmar Muslims and regional Islamist militants. Such militants could recruit disaffected Rohingyas to their own cause.

Investigations have also indicated that though bombers placed 13 bombs in and around the Mahabodhi Temple complex, the intention was not mass casualty but to send a message by causing damage to the temple. "The bomber wanted to blow up the main Buddha statue inside the temple, but could not go there as the prayers had already started. He has spent a good 10 minutes trying to enter the main temple and plant the bomb. This has also been corroborated by eyewitness accounts," said the officer.
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