GAYA (TIP): The CCTV footage released by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on its website as part of its efforts to crack the Bodh Gaya serial-blasts case has done no favours to the reputation of the temple’s management committee. On July 16 the NIA, which is probing the July 7 blasts in Bodh Gaya, had released two sketches of a suspect along with CCTV footage showing him entering the temple premises in a Buddhist robe.
Besides the poor quality of the recorded images, the location of the cameras, their failure to record any of the four bomb-planting operations undertaken within a radius of a few metres from the main shrine and the general upkeep of the shrine have come in for criticism. In the footage released by the NIA — for help in identifying the suspect and solving the case — a stray dog is seen hovering around the seat where the Buddha meditated to attain enlightenment.
This, when the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) maintains an army of watch and ward staff, and monks, too, are deputed at important points to supervise the maintenance of the shrine’s sanctity. In the past the BTMC has warded off criticism regarding its failure to protect tourists and pilgrims from the dog menace, despite several instances of dog bites, on the grounds that the use of any kind of force is resented by the Buddha devotees thronging the shrine.
But during the chief minister’s recent ‘seva yatra’, all the street dogs in the shrine’s vicinity were rounded up and handed over to the temporary care of an NGO. The dogs were released after the yatra ended. Bodh Gaya researcher Rajiv Kumar said the cash-rich committee could easily run its own care home for stray dogs — there would be no shortage of donors for such a scheme.