In what is suspected to be the first-ever terror attack in Patna,five people were killed and 90 injured when serial blasts targeted Narendra Modi’s rally in the state capitals Gandhi Maidan on Sunday. Two of the injured are critical.
While six of the blasts occurred around the rally venue,two bombs went off within 150 metres of the platform from where Modi delivered his speech. The last bomb went off at 12.45 pm 20 minutes before Modi and top BJP leaders took the stage.
Four live bombs were later discovered near the rally venue.
Though the Bihar Police did not officially call it a terror attack,Director General of Police Abhayanand confirmed the use of IED and timers. Intelligence sources also hinted at the use of ammonium nitrate,detonators and iron nails.
By late Sunday evening,four people had been arrested. Police identified one of them as Mohammed Imtiaz from Bhuian Toli,Ranchi. Another person shown as arrested is battling for life at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and is believed to have planted the bomb that went off inside a Patna Railway Station platform toilet. Police claimed to have seized important documents from them.
MoS (Home) R P N Singh told The Indian Express that it was too early to draw any conclusions regarding the identity of the attackers. Only after investigation will we be able to tell anything.
Three of the five who died have been identified as Ramnarain Singh from Gaurichak near Patna,Vikas Singh from Kaimur and Munna Srivastava from Mirganj,Gopalganj. Whether they were political activists or had just come for the rally is yet to be determined. Most of the injured were attending the rally.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,who spoke to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,condemned the blasts and appealed for calm. Home Ministry officials said there was no specific alert about the rally and it was solely up to the state government to decide what kind of arrangements were to be made. The Union Home Ministry had recently sent an advisory to all poll-bound states to maintain vigilance at election rallies.
Nitish said in a statement that there had been no intelligence input warning of such an attack and that even the BJP had not expressed apprehension of a blast. We provided all the help required for a rally on such a big scale. Ruling out any political conspiracy,he added that those trying to disturb the atmosphere of Bihar would be identified.
There may be political differences between the BJP and JD(U),but it is time to fight such challenges together, he said. PTI reported that Nitish also called up BJP president Rajnath Singh,who was present at the Patna rally,and assured a thorough probe.
Calling the blast a blot on the glorious traditions of Bihar,the CM added that the NIA had been called in to join the investigation and promised definite details within 48 hours.
This is the second series of blasts in Bihar after the July Bodhgaya attack.
Fear spread among the crowd following the explosions,but continued…