Patna terror blasts bring Nitish Kumar govt under a cloud

In one of the most unfortunate incidents post-Independence,   jehadi terror bombs kept on going off at regular intervals in and around the Gandhi Maidan in Patna where BJP’s prime ministerial  candidate Narendra Modi was to hold his “Hunkar rally.” An unfazed Modi carried on addressing the massive rally nevertheless.

If a major catastrophe was averted, the credit goes to divine intervention. However, this incident cannot be taken lightly. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his police have a lot to answer for their laxity.

It was known for the last several weeks that Modi will be holding the rally on October 27 in Bihar’s capital city. It was also known to all that the Gujarat chief minister is one of the most threatened leaders currently on the jehadi radar. So whether the Centre did alert the Bihar government or not, it was the onerous responsibility of the state government to go all out to ensure the safety of the people attending this rally and the leaders addressing it, from any terror threat.  More so, because maintenance of the law and order in India is a  state subject.

Unfortunately, nothing of the sorts was done. It is a laid down Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) that even for a small rally, the venue of the rally -in this case Gandhi Maidan - should be sanitised seven days in advance. The police administration is required to post police pickets at the venue and check people entering or leaving the venue.

Not only that this was not resorted to, even on the rally day itself people were allowed to come and go as they wished with not even a perfunctory checking. There were no bomb disposal teams available at railway station in Patna, where people coming to participate in this rally were arriving by special trains. It is here that the first jehadi bomb went off at 9.55 am killing one person and injuring several others. Similarly, there were no bomb disposal teams available at the Gandhi Maidan where several terror bombs went off later. Ambulances were not available to carry the injured to the hospital.

They were taken to the hospitals piggy back or on motorcycles!
Narendra Modi being a chief minister with Z plus security, it is mandatory on part of the Bihar Police to give in writing to Gujarat Police ‘Advance Security liaison Report’ , that it has taken on the responsibility of Modi for the rally. But, this was not done by the Bihar Police administration. Why?

The Gujarat Police had requested the Bihar Police to provide Modi a bullet proof vehicle. Even this request was refused. Jammers were provided only after many arguments. What is so intriguing is that if the metal detectors and sniffer dogs were used,  then how come so many bombs were found planted within Gandhi Maidan? The big question is that can Bihar Police administration dare to be so callus without giving proper protection to top political leaders and the people at the venue?

Spilled the beans

The sequence of events started unfolding from morning itself. Just when the special trains carrying rally participants started arriving at the Patna railway station, the first bomb went off in the toilet of platform number 10. Thereafter, jehadi bombs kept on going off at regular intervals till 1.55 pm, in and around the Gandhi Maidan. In all, six people were killed and 102 got injured. It was just by chance that one of the jehadis, Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari of the Indian Mujahideen, the terror group responsible for this mayhem, was caught red-handed. He has now spilled the beans.

As per Ansari, he, along with three more operatives of Indian Mujahedeen belonging to the Jharkhand module were responsible for this terror act. They were assisted by eight local people of Patna.

They had planted the bombs in Gandhi Maidan just one hour before the rally was to start to ensure that these bombs do not get affected by the overnight dew or get detected early thus alerting security agencies. He said this was being done to avenge the recent Muzaffarnagar riots.

Their aim was to cause panic in the crowd there by starting a stampede that would have killed a large number of people including women and children. It is providential that such a large gathering numbering more than five lakh did not panic. Otherwise, the consequences would have been deadly. Similarly, had the large gathering gone berserk, it would have caused mayhem in Patna.

It should be clear to all of us by now that had the Nitish Kumar government been more alert and the police performed their duties with professionalism, this carnage would have been averted. Efforts are already on to push the entire episode under the carpet which people of India must not allow. It is very important that the dereliction of duty must be identified at all levels and culprits severely punished.

If this problem is not tackled head on now, the 2014 general elections could be very bloody. The states should not forget that a provision does exist in our Constitution where the state governments not complying with the Central government directives on the issue of law and order can be dismissed under Article 356.

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