Card. Gracias: solidarity and support for Buddhists after the attack on the sacred tree
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "As an Indian I am deeply anguished and pained at this horrendous violence at this sacred place of worship [the Temple of Bodh Gaya]. I would like to assure our Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world, especially from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the Southeast Asia region, that India is a land of peace, compassion and harmony and we give them our support and solidarity." This is the message sent out via AsiaNews by Card. Oswald Gracias, President of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), after the series of explosions that struck yesterday one of the most important sacred places of Buddhism in India and around the world.
Nine medium-intensity explosions hit Bodh Gaya, Buddhism's sacred complex located in the Indian State of Bihar. Named a Unesco World Heritage site, the site hosts the Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi tree, under which - according to tradition - Siddartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. The complex suffered minor damage and two monks were wounded.
For the moment, no one has claimed responsibility for the explosions. However, the police believe it is a terrorist attack, by the Islamic extremist group Indian Mujahideen. The organization, explain the Indian authorities, is allegedly planning to attack a number of places sacred to Buddhism to achieve international recognition.
"Our prayers and concerns", added the Cardinal, who is also General Secretary of the Federation of Asian bishops' conferences (FABC), "are with so many who have experienced the trauma of these acts, most especially those who were injured."
"Before this mindless violence", he continued, "we, the Catholic Church in India, the Christian community and leaders of other religions must be united so as not to be overcome by the devil, but fight him with good, working together to build a more just, free and secure society, based on love, justice, truth and service, for generations to come".