Proper checks could have averted Patna blasts

  • Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Oct 28, 2013 01:30 IST

Amidst explosions at city Railway station and Gandhi Maidan, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Sunday was urged by anxious state police and intelligence officials at the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain airport to give the Hunkar rally a miss as there was serious threat to his security. Modi, however, agreed to delay his departure from the airport to the rally venue by 20 minutes by which time the last of the bombs had exploded at Gandhi Maidan.

After a bomb recovered at the railway station revealed the presence of clock as a timer device around noon, the IB deputed the state intelligence chief Vivek Srivastava to go to the airport and brief Modi about the blasts. Not only Srivastava but even a state ADG rushed to the airport around 12.20pm to urge Modi not to go to the rally site. The Gujarat CM discussed the situation with his personal security chief and decided to attend the rally.

While the last of the bombs went off around 12.40pm during former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi’s speech, Modi arrived with party president Rajnath Singh and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely at the venue with state leaders blaming the state police of not taking appropriate security measures.

Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to probe the blasts, Union home ministry is blaming the police of taking security of two Z+ protectees lightly and not undertaking mandatory anti-sabotage checks at the rally site. The BJP deployed some 1,784 security guards from a private security group SIS to handle the crowd due to thin presence of police without CCTV cameras at the venue. That the situation was very serious is evident from the fact that the police detected a bomb just 80 feet from the dais after the rally and carried out a controlled explosion. Seven bombs exploded and three other were later recovered from the periphery of the Gandhi Maidan, clearly indicating that the terrorists wanted to cause mayhem at the rally and force the BJP to abandon the rally.

Top BJP leaders are very peeved with the way state administration handled the Modi rally, they had anxious moments as they tried to convince the crowds that explosions were caused by fire crackers and not improvised explosive devices planted by terrorists.

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