5 killed in 7 serial bomb blasts, 6 explosions at Modi rally
Five people were killed today in seven low intensity serial blasts in Patna of which six bombs went off in and around the venue of Narendra Modi's mega rally at Gandhi Maidan shortly before his address before a huge gathering.
A total of 83 people were also injured in the bomb explosions between 9:30 am and 12:45 pm rpt 1245 pm in which timers were also used.
Just a couple of hours before the six multiple explosions, a crude bomb went off in a newly constructed toilet at Platform 10 at the Patna railway station, two km from the venue BJP's 'Hunkar(battle cry) rally' of the party's prime ministerial candidate.
Four people have been detained in Patna, police said, adding that one of them caught fleeing from the blast at the railway station appears to be the prime suspect. Some documents and a list of telephone numbers were recovered from the prime suspect whose identity was not revealed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed for calm. He spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and asked him to speedily probe the blasts and ensure that the perpetrators are punished.
Five people died from blast injuries, according to Vimal Karak,Deputy Superintendent of Patna Medical College Hospital.
Nitish said the timing of the blasts on the day of his Gujarat counterpart's rally was "very worrying", adding it appeared to be a "deliberate attempt" to vitiate the atmosphere in the state.
Nitish said of the 83 injured who had come to Patna Medical College and Hospital, 38 were under treatment and the rest discharged.
Stating that the bombs which exploded were of low intensity, DGP Abhyanand said the seven blasts took place between 9:30 am and 12:45 pm in which timers were also used.
The DGP said six live bombs were also recovered and defused by the bomb disposal squad.
Two unexploded bombs each were recovered from near Mahatma Gandhi's statue, the twin towers--both close to the rally venue--and at the rail platform toilet.
Five low intensity blasts occurred on the outer periphery of the Gandhi Maidan, Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami told PTI in Delhi. One bomb went off before the Eliphistine cinema hall on the western side of the rally venue, police said.
Tens of thousands of people had gathered at Gandhi Maidan to hear Modi who proceeded with his address as schedule even as plumes of smoke billowed from a couple of explosion sites.
Nitish said the explosions could be the handiwork of a terrorist organisation.
Asked at a news conference in Patna whether any terrorist outfit was behind the blasts, Nitish did not rule it out.
Union Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said it was too early to say whether the explosions were a terror attack.
"Only after proper investigations, we would be able to tell who could be behind the blast," he told PTI.
Singh said the Home Ministry had no prior information about any possible bomb attack in Patna and that the state government will be able to tell whether it had any intelligence input.
Nitish, however, said there was no intelligence input either from the Centre or from the concerned agency in Bihar.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj blamed the blasts on "gross intelligence failure".
Meanwhile, the Jharkand police said some of the suspects hailed from Jharkand. "Many of the suspects in the serial bomb blasts in Patna are from Jharkhand," Additional Director General of Police (Law & Order) S N Pradhan told PTI in Ranchi.