Osho Ashram turns into a fortress

Pune, Feb 14 (IANS) A day after a bomb ripped through an eatery killing nine people here, Pune’s best known landmark, the Osho Ashram, turned into a veritable fortress.

Police commandos were deployed at the main gate of the sprawling ashram, which is hugely popular with foreigners and came up in 1974.

The Osho International Meditation Centre, as it is officially known, was founded by Osho Rajneesh. He taught at the centre until 1981 when he moved to the US.

The two adjoining houses and six acres of land form the nucleus of the present day Ashram that attracts a large number of foreigners every year. Most of them come from the West.

Police say that David Headley, a Pakistan-born American Islamist now in a Chicago prison, had visited the Osho Ashram in 2007-08 to see if it could be a possible target for Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba group.

The German Bakery, where a bomb concealed in a backpack went off Saturday evening killing nine people and injuring 57, is located close to the Osho Ashram. Many of its inmates regularly visit the eatery.

Amid fears that the Osho Ashram could also be bombed, police barred visitors from entering the complex.

The bomb site was also sealed off by the local police, the Riot Control Police and Maharashtra State Reserve Police.

No traffic was allowed on the road on which the German Bakery is located.

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