7 blasts rock Patna before Modi rally

7 blasts rock Patna before Modi rally

7 blasts rock Patna before Modi rally

Five people were killed and 83 seriously injured when seven improvised explosive devices (IED) went off in a serial order hours before Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s scheduled speech here on Sunday.

While the first blast of low intensity detonated at the Patna railway station at 9:30 am, six other explosions occurred within the 500 metre-radius of Gandhi Maidan, the rally venue. Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj said the explosions were primarily aimed at creating panic as more than two lakh people had gathered at the maidan to listen to Modi.

“We have detained four persons. After their sustained interrogation, we are hopeful of a breakthrough in the case,” Maharaj said. The grievously injured persons were rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) where they are recuperating.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said he did not rule out the handiwork of terror outfits. “But, at the same time, I also cannot say that this has been done by a particular ultra group,” he said.

Kumar refused to call it a police and intelligence failure. “So many rallies take place here. But this is for the first time that serial blasts have occurred. There was no intelligence input either by the Central or state agencies. This is not a police failure but a lesson for everyone,” he said. The chief minister announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh for those killed in the blasts.

Confirming that IEDs were used in the blasts, Bihar Director-General of Police  Abhayanand said the culprits would be exposed in the next 48 hours. “Apart from the first explosion at Patna junction around 9:30 am, the other six blasts occurred at Udyog Bhavan (11:40 am), the Regent Theatre (12:05 pm), Gandhi statue (12:10 pm), Twin tower (12:15 pm), SBI main office (12:20 pm) and Children’s Park (12:45 pm). Timers were used in all the seven explosions,” he said.

The last six blasts occurred in the outer periphery of the oval-shaped Gandhi Maidan, where, hardly a few hundred metres away, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was to address his party’s biggest-ever rally in Patna at 1:30 pm.

“Apart from the first explosion at Patna junction around 9:30 am, the other six blasts occurred at Udyog Bhavan (11:40 am), the Regent Theatre (12:05 pm), Gandhi statue (12:10 pm), Twin tower (12:15 pm), SBI main office (12:20 pm) and Children’s Park (12:45 pm). Timers were used in all the seven explosions,” Abhayanand said.

The last six blasts occurred in the outer periphery of the oval-shaped Gandhi Maidan, where hardly a few hundred metres away Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was to address his party’s biggest rally in Patna at 1:30 pm.

Meanwhile, National Investigating Agency and National Security Guard teams arrived here to investigate the blasts. Sleuths interrogated the apprehended persons, and unlike Bodh Gaya serial blasts on July 7, are hopeful of an early breakthrough in Patna explosions.

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