Burmese refugee sees Myanmar angle at Bodh Gaya terror attack

July 8, 2013: Two Monks, one a Burmese national, were injured in the serial blast in the early hours of today at Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh Gaya , south central Bihar.

While four blasts took place inside the Mahabodhi Temple complex, three occurred at the Terega monastery, the abode of the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. There was no structural damage to the 7th century temple, which is regarded as one of the holiest Buddhist shrines and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.


Reportedly , the Intelligence Bureau had warned and alerted the security on such possible attacks.


Since January this year the Intelligence Bureau had issued several warnings pointing to heightened risks to Buddhist religious targets in India, as a consequence of anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar wrote the Firstpost.com. While the report also mentioned that no conclusion has been made , it stated that Jihadist groups have been threatening violence against Buddhist targets for over a year now. In July 2012, the al-Qaeda linked Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan threatened to carry out attacks against Buddhists in retaliation to the communal violence in Myanmar. In June, this year Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed publicly charged India with helping Burma “wipe out [the] Muslim population”.


The tragic news woke up Dr Tint Swe , a former Burmese Member of Parliament living in exile in Delhi, he said “All Burmese in Delhi, in Bodhgaya and inside Burma are shocked and dismayed.”


According to Swe there are around 500 Burmese monks who are studying in India of which about 200 monks are in Bodh Gaya.
Stating today’s incident is a threat to the Nation and religion, both in India and Myanmar, Dr Swe said the Burmese Muslims were unfortunate victims of an influence that came from outside the country.


On the possible link to a repercussion over the recent developments in Myanmar, tensions following clashes between Buddhists and Muslims, Dr Swe explained that the gangrape of a woman in northern Arakan State allegedly by Muslim men provoked a religion based riots and violence in 2012. Its aftermath witnessed retaliatory attacks in Malaysia , Jakarta etc. on migrant and Burmese Buddhist refugees.


The Muslim world re-acted disproportionately, said Dr Tint Swe.


Further, Swe reflected that the US based TIME Magazine’s July 1, 2013 Asia edition cover story “ The Face of Buddhist Terror” fueled the tension between the Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar.


The said magazine story quoted “ It’s a faith famous for its pacifism and tolerance. But in several of Asia’s Buddhist-majority Nations, monks are inciting bigotry and violence — mostly against Muslims ” The article profiles U. Wirathu, the 46 year old spiritual leader , alleging that the influential monk and his entourage travelled across Myanmar giving sermons to religious and laypeople encouraging Buddhists to shun Muslim business and communities.


The article describes the monk with a face as still and serene as a statue’s, and that the Buddhist monk was famously known as “the Burmese bin Laden”. In a payer meet , Wirathu’s message crackles with hate, beginning his sermon with “Now is not the time for calm,” with hundreds of worshipers sitting before him, palms pressed together, sweat trickling silently down their sticky backs, chanting with him, wrote the TIME.


The said magazine has been apparently banned by Myanmar Government. An act opposed by the media fraternity in the country.


Swe reiterated that the said meetings as reported in the TIME was a series of meeting organized by the Buddhist monks and their staunched followers to propose a new Bill called “Race Protection Law”.


Dr Swe revealed that when violence in Arakan State took place, world leaders particularly from Muslim Nations threw their “heavy weight” on Burma. Funds came in millions for refugees he said, further recollecting some key events and happenings, such as cyclone Nargis that hit Burma in 2008 or during the infamous protest of 2007 and Swe lamented no help came from these countries.


Drawing his conclusion from a quote by Col R Hariharan, Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group, this exiled Burmese former Parliamentarian noted that Islamic extremism which is staging a last ditch fight in neighboring Bangladesh and in some of the ASEAN countries, might find a potential opportunity in Myanmar to spread its tentacles.


The Sangai Express