Although Chief Minister Nitish Kumar denied it,ground realities suggest lapses on part of the state police,which should have been more cautious specially after the Bodhgaya serial blasts in July.
Six blasts near Narendra Modis rally venue Gandhi Maidan two of them within 150 metres of the platform from where the BJP leaders addressed the gathering exposed DGP Abhyanands claims of well-laid out security drills by senior police officers two days before the rally.
Also,the district administration had made no attempt to remove hawkers from the peripheral area of Gandhi Maidan. The security concentration was on 500 sq feet of VIP area. Even after the blasts,no checking was done on two- and four-wheelers parked around the venue. There was no metal detector at the entry points too.
Former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: Perhaps the state government treated it like any other rally. We had told the government about the huge crowd that demanded extra security arrangements.
The blasts not only highlight the lack of adequate security measures but also poor handling of the spots where the explosions took place. While a detailed report on the lapses are awaited,preliminary analysis by central teams suggests that despite the first blast being reported in the morning,it took the state police several hours to ascertain the number of explosions. DGP Abhayanand conceded: The first bomb structure was very complicated. It took time in its management.
According to Home Ministry sources,the local administration till afternoon was busy managing the rally and it was only around 4 pm that senior officers started taking stock of the situation. What baffled the central agencies is the way the police handled the spots where these explosions were reported. Unlike the standard practice after the blasts,the areas were not cordoned off which resulted in loss of vital clues.
Also,although the police have a bomb disposal squad,there are not enough personnel to comb the area. The police used lathis and bare hands to pick packets suspected to contain IEDs.
After the Bodhgaya blasts,the MHA had pulled up the state polices bomb detection squad for not following proper safety measures while defusing bombs. On Sunday,a member of the bomb disposal squad was injured when he tried to defuse a bomb found at the railway station. Patna SSP Manu Maharaaj,however,said,Proper procedures were followed to defuse the bombs. Our men wore bulletproof jackets and followed the laid down rules.
The preliminary analysis also highlighted poor handling of investigations. The newly created ATS is still in the process of being set up and the police only have a small surveillance unit which focuses on Naxals and activities in border areas.