Security at Mahabodhi temple: Nitish seeks PM's intervention

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to get CISF security at Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh Gaya in the wake of July 7 terror attack.

In a letter to the prime minister, released to the media Wednesday, the chief minister said a security cover by the Central Industrial Security Force to the temple was "urgent and crucial" and that the Bihar government's request on this matter was pending with the union home ministry.

He urged the prime minister to direct the ministry to take a favourable decision on providing CISF security to the temple.

"I sincerely hope that your kind intervention will be made to ensure early approval of our proposal for CISF security at this site for which the state government is also willing to pay the required cost.

"I request you to kindly direct the Ministry of Home Affairs to take a favourable decision at the earliest," Nitish Kumar said.

The letter, written Monday, also said the probe into the blasts inside the temple and some places in the vicinity had been handed over to National Investigation Agency as involvement of terrorist organisations was suspected.

The chief minister said the state government had requested the home ministry to provide CISF security at the temple complex through a letter sent on July 19 but "acceptance of state government's request is still awaited".

He said that Bodh Gaya was one of the most popular Buddhist pilgrimage centres of the world and "encloses the site of Vajrasana (the spot where Buddha sat and Bodhi tree under which he mediated and attained enlightenment 2600 years ago)".

He said the temple complex had been given the status of the World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2002 and was directly connected through international flights to some foreign capitals.

He said over 10 lakh people visit Bodh Gaya every year and it has over 100 Buddhist monasteries mostly belonging to foreign institutions.

"In view of the above, the need for providing CISF security cover to this temple is urgent and crucial for obvious reasons," the chief minister said.

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