The National Investigation Agency has arrested two West Bengal natives from Kerala’s Malappuram district for allegedly planting three improvised explosive devices at the Mahabodhi temple in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya in January.
The agency has so far arrested five people in connection with the case – three others were arrested on April 3.
Abdul Karim from Murshidabad district and Mustafizur Rehman from Birbhum district were arrested on Friday from a labour camp in Malappuram, where they had been hiding after allegedly planting the IEDs, a statement released by the agency said. An NIA special court in Patna granted the agency 15 days’ custody of the two men.
According to the statement, investigations revealed that Karim and Rehman belonged to Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a militant outfit active along the border areas of India and Bangladesh. Karim was involved in making the IED as well as conspiracy and planning, while Rehman collected material for the IED and conducted a recee of the place, the agency said.
“The two people arrested were part of the group of around half-a-dozen Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh men who planted the IEDs,” an unidentified NIA official told the Hindustan Times. The official said associates of the two who were arrested were involved in the 2014 Burdwan blast case in West Bengal.
“We have reason to believe that a wanted accused in the Burdwan case is the mastermind of the January Bodh Gaya incident,” said the official.
On January 19, a low-intensity bomb exploded just hours after Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama finished a sermon at Bodh Gaya. Security personnel later found two live bombs in boxes – one near gate Number 4 of the Mahabodhi temple and another near a Sri Lankan monastery.
The Central Industrial Security Force took over the security of the temple after a series of explosions at the Mahabodhi temple injured five people, including two monks in July 2013.