Leh shuts down over Bodh Gaya attacks
Tarun Upadhyay , Hindustan Times Jammu, July 08, 2013
A complete bandh was observed in Leh and adjoining towns to protest against terrorist attack at Bodh Gaya on Sunday. The bandh was observed in the Buddhist-dominated Zanskar area of Kargil district. All commercial and educational institutions were closed and people took out a protest march. The bandh was supported by people of different communities and political ideologies. "The bandh was complete and peaceful. There was no report of any untoward incident. The administration had beefed up security at important religious sites," Leh deputy commissioner Simrandeep Singh told HT.
The protest was held on Sunday and a candlelight procession was also taken out. The protesters, after walking through the main street of Leh town, assembled at Polo ground. People from Muslim community and representatives of Hindu and Christian organisations also attended the meeting at Polo ground. "People were angry that if intelligence reports were available of a possible attack why enough security measures were not taken? They threatened to start a hunger strike and long-drawn protests in Leh if the Centre doesn't show seriousness towards this attack," said ex-MP Thupstan Chewang.
In a coordinated terror attack, nine serial blasts rocked Buddhist pilgrimage town of Bodh Gaya and its famed Mahabodhi temple on Sunday, injuring two monks. Protests were also held in all nine blocks of the Leh district. "Bodh Gaya is like Mecca for every Buddhist. We are shocked and anguished over this attack. People not only strongly condemn it but want a thorough and fair probe into it," said N Namgyal, MLA, Nubra.
Leh is the only Buddhist majority district of the state with about 1.5 lakh population. Zanskar in neighbouring Muslim-dominated Kargil district has an additional 25,000 Buddhist population. The bandh affected tourists as well as all commercial establishments were closed and vehicles movement was not allowed. The administration has made special arrangements to take back passengers from Leh airport as flights from Delhi could not land because of bad weather. Till now about 50,000 tourists had visited Leh, which is the only part the state unaffected by terrorism.