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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Eyewitness account: Blasts rang out one after the other in Gandhi Maidan

Dev Raj/ HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Patna, October 27, 2013
First Published: 21:02 IST(27/10/2013) | Last Updated: 01:32 IST(28/10/2013)

 

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HT reporter Dev Raj who was at the venue and witnessed the blasts, reconstructs the story.

It was 11:35am and I was sitting in the eastern part of Gandhi Maidan, the venue for Modi's Hunkar Rally, listening to the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders speaking from the dais. Gujarat chief minister and BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi was to arrive at 1pm.

I heard a loud bang close to a few trucks parked around 70 metres away. White smoke billowed and people started running away. I saw people were lying there, bleeding profusely. A few BJP supporters also rushed there. They lifted the injured and rushed towards different exits. Those who had minor injuries limped away on their own.

One of the seriously injured, Munna Srivastava from Gopalganj, was writhing in pain. His left arm was partly severed. There was no vehicle around. He was taken out on the road and a vehicle was quickly arranged to take him to the hospital.

The person speaking from the dais around 500 metres away, did a good job of containing panic by announcing it was a tyre burst. It calmed the crowd that could have broken into a stampede.

I returned to the place where the bomb had gone off. There was a crater about 9-inch deep, and it looked as if the bomb had been concealed beneath the soil.

Suddenly, I heard another blast go off, this time in the northeast corner of Gandhi Maidan.

I dashed there to find an aged man and a young person, writhing in pain. A few others with minor injuries were trying to compose themselves and a few courageous rallyists were trying to helping them. In the mean time, an ambulance arrived and rushed them to the hospital.

This second bomb was planted beneath a marble bench on which people were sitting, and the blast left a crater at the spot. It looked like the explosive was timed.

By now, angry youth had started pelting the police outpost with stones and bricks and the police responded with mild caning.

Within a couple of minutes another explosion took place, this time outside the venue, somewhere towards the north of the Maidan.

Soon after another blast happened went off in the middle of the Maidan, leaving six people seriously injured. This one was hidden under a flowerbed.

The bombs were packed with one inch long iron nails to maximize the impact and increase casualties.

In no time another bomb exploded on the southwest corner of the venue, injuring a few more, followed by the sixth and the last one at 12:41pm in the middle of the crowd just around 200 metres away from the dais.

By now the rally supporters were rushing towards the BJP medical camp in the middle of the ground.

A team of doctors was present there, providing first aid, applying pressure gauges and sending them to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH).

Panicked people were leaving the ground in large numbers, and it was Modi's arrival, at 12.58pm, that stalled the exodus.


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