A day after the terror attack in Varanasi, the central and Uttar Pradesh governments blamed each other for the security lapse that enabled terrorists to engineer the blast that killed an infant and injured 38 people on Tuesday.
Union home minister P Chidambaram, who visited Varanasi on Wednesday, accused the Mayawati government of having failed to act on his ministry's security advisories.
"Three specific advisories, including a fresh one on December 5, had been given to the UP government that the ghats, especially Dashashwamedh Ghat during Ganga Aarti, were targets of terrorist outfits," Chidambaram said.
Tuesday's blast took place at Varanasi's Old Dashashwamedh Ghat during Ganga Aarti.
"Alertness should be on all days of the year and not on some important or sensitive dates alone," Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram said law and order was a state subject and the central government could only supplement the state's additional requirements for security forces.
Backing Chidambaram's charge, a senior intelligence officer in Delhi said Indian Mujahideen operative Shahzad Ahmed, caught in February this year, had spoken of plans to attack two places in Varanasi: Dashashwamedh Ghat and German Bakery. (Another bakery by the same name was in Pune in February this year). The information was passed on to Uttar Pradesh.
Countering the home minister's remarks, UP cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh read out a statement by Mayawati, which said, "There were absolutely no actionable inputs from the central agencies about Varanasi."
The statement also claimed there was no laxity on the state government's part and that the central government lacked the "will power" to fight terrorism.
Intelligence and police officials from Lucknow, New Delhi and Mumbai joined the investigation in Varanasi. But investigators have no major leads yet.
Additional director general of police (law and order) Brij Lal said in Lucknow, "At present we are not in a position to say anything about the involvement of any group, module or person."
(With inputs from Delhi)