In New Delhi, Home Secretary Anil Goswami characterized the explosions as a terrorist attack, though investigators have not identified any suspects or possible motives. Indian media reported that the Home Ministry had asked for additional security at Buddhist shrines and Tibetan settlements. The advisory cited rising tensions related to the ethnic conflict in neighboring Myanmar between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.Mr. Goswami told reporters that four explosions occurred inside the temple complex, three others shook a nearby monastery and one went off near a statue of Buddha. Two other bombs were defused, he said.
It’s not clear yet who was responsible, but it’s difficult to see the attack on one of Buddhism’s holiest shrines at a time of rising religious unrest as anything but an expansion of this conflict. In Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka religious and ethnic conflicts between Buddhists and Muslims are turning violent; if it comes out that an Islamic group is behind these attacks, India could soon be joining them. Attacks like this are only pouring gasoline on the fire.[Mahabodhi Temple image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]