Bodh Gaya terror attack case takes new dimension

Nine bomb blasts in a coordinated terror attack rocked Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya and its famed Mahabodhi temple complex in Bihar. File photo

New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) Considering the new dimension of terror attacks in the hinterland through proxy war by Pakistan, the National Investigation Agency has slapped Weapons of Mass Destruction and Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act in the January 19 Bodh Gaya terror attack case.

The NIA took over the probe from the Bihar Police on a February 3 directive from the Union Home Ministry and is expected to take custody of two Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh operatives arrested from Kolkata in connection with the case.

An agency source said that on the basis of prima facie suspicion, the NIA has imposed sections of WMD after it recovered materials falling under the category of weapons of mass destruction, though their exact nature will be determined once the forensic analysis test reports come in.

The material in question, the source added, could be a chemical toxin intended for mass killing.

Sections 14, 17 and 19 of the 2005 Act have been applied in this case, according to the FIR.

Aimed at prosecution of persons accused of unlawful activities relating to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, including those nuclear, chemical toxin and bacteriological (biological) materials, the Act provides for a minimum punishment of five years to life imprisonment along with a monetary fine.

NIA has also slapped Sections 16, 18 and 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, provisions of the Indian Penal Code related to conspiracy, waging war against the nation and promotion of enmity between groups besides the law on Explosive Substances.
The Act came into force in 2005 as part of integrated legal measures to exercise controls over the export of materials, equipment and technologies and to prohibit unlawful activities in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

Bihar Police had registered a case on January 20 this year at Bodhgaya police station relating to recovery and use of Improvised Explosive Device on January 19 near ‘Kalachakra Maidan’ and several other parts.

The explosive containing gelatin sticks and detonators was hidden in a Milton flask and the attack was planned to take place when Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama was in the temple town to address thousands of devotees from around the world. Two more IEDs were found in the vicinity of the shrine.

Recovered from the south gate of the shrine, the IED was packed in an unusually large flask and was suspected to contain the WMD material.