Two days after explosives were found inside Uttar Pradesh Assembly during the ongoing budget session, the state police has said it has tightened the security apparatus at the UP legislature complex replete with ‘anti-sabotage’ measures. The fresh security measures come a day after the UP government recommended an NIA probe into the recovery of an explosive material in the state assembly. Anand Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), told news agency PTI that an integrated security plan for the “entire complex is also being worked upon”.
Weighing at least 150 gm, the packet containing Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) was found under Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Pandey’s seat. Security officials scurried to secure the premises even as they recovered the explosive packet whose contents were then sent to a forensic laboratory for tests. In light of the situation, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had urged that the NIA (National Investigation Agency) should be given charge of leading the investigation into the major security lapse. Also Read: What is PETN explosive device found in Uttar Pradesh Assembly?
In his address at the Uttar Pradesh Assembly during the budget session, Adityanath had said: “Can we allow anyone to compromise the security of 403 MLAs? This is PETN, this is a dangerous substance. It will be revealed who is behind this. Police verification should be conducted of every security personnel.” The chief minister also noted a terror conspiracy and regretted the absence of a Quick Response Team (QRT) for the state. “It’s unfortunate that the largest Assembly of the country doesn’t have a QRT,” he had said. Also Read: What foreign media thinks of Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath
After the forensic laboratory ascertained the plastic explosive to be PETN or Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, it was established that it’s one of the most dangerous plastic explosive. The substance is available in black market, and belongs to the same family as nitroglycerin. It is preferred by militant groups because it cannot be easily detected owing to its colourless crystals. Majority of explosive detectors use metal detectors, but PETN can be kept hidden in a sealed container or an electrical equipment and thus can easily surpass security checks.
Meanwhile, UP police said questioning is going on and that it’s a regular exercise, as part of the investigation. They also said that as part of immediate measures, quick response teams, ATS and additional Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel have been deployed on the UP legislature premises.
In a statement to PTI, Anand Kumar was quoted as saying, “Besides, a security audit of the entire assembly complex is being done and a mock-drill is likely to take place,” the officer said. “An integrated security plan to ensure effective liasion with the Sachivalaya Suraksha Dal (secretariat protection force) is being worked upon. Entry through old passes has been disallowed and people with bona fide passes are only allowed to enter the UP legislature complex.”
Kumar also allayed fears after reports emerged that another packet of white powdery substance was detected on Friday a day after PETN was found under an MLA’s seat. He said it was a packet containing magnesium sulphate, which is used as a drying agent in packing material. The ATS has taken the packet in its custody.
He further added saying: “As many as 109 close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been made functional to increase the vigil. After this, necessary equipment such as boom barriers may also be installed to enhance the security.”
The UP Police, in the meantime, had registered an FIR on Friday against unknown persons for the “security breach” under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 121A (conspiring to wage war). Besides, the entry has been prohibited to those who do not have the Assembly pass. Everyone entering the secretariat is being thoroughly checked.