Lean season keeps casualties low in Bodh Gaya serial blasts

The casualty in the Bodh Gaya serial blast on Sunday could have been higher had the incident taken place between October and May, which is the peak tourist season.

During peak season, the Gaya international airport caters to an average daily 1500 passengers - both incoming and outbound - with four to five flights operating in a day.

It has international air connectivity with Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Bhutan, Singapore and occasionally also with Japan, Vietnam and Korea. Besides, domestic flights also operate to New Delhi and Kolkata. This year, however, the tourist season ended in April and commercial flights had stopped operating since then.

Following the serial blasts, security was put on high alert. Airport security had also been beefed up and weekly offs of all Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, tasked with aerodrome security, has been cancelled.

Extra patrolling was being done to look out for suspicious articles. State police has also been deployed on the city side (outside) of the airport. Access to the airport has been restricted.

In Patna, about 140km north-east of Gaya, airport security has been put on alert. CISF personnel had resorted to patrolling for suspicious articles on the Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport campus and passenger profiling is being done.

On Sunday, a special Indian Air Force Avro plane, carrying security personnel from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), National Security Guards and experts from forensic science laboratory could not land at the Gaya airport in the morning because of inclement weather. The flight was diverted back to New Delhi and is expected later in the evening.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, who left for Gaya by road in the morning, returned to the state capital by a chopper at around 1.20pm on Sunday.


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