Serial Bomb Blasts near Modi’s Hunkar rally in Patna: 5 dead, 24 injured

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bomb-blast-in-patne-photosPATNA: At least five people were killed and 24 injured when a series of blasts rocked Patna ahead of BJP’s Hunkar rally on Sunday.

Bihar DGP GP Abhyanand has confirmed 8 explosions. Most of the blasts occurred in and around the Gandhi Maidan.

People were seen rushing the injured to the hospital as the explosions sparked panic.

Six persons were injured in a blast before the Eliphistine cinema hall on the western side of the rally venue, police sources said.

Hours before that, a bomb exploded in a newly constructed toilet at the Patna railway station, two kilometers from the BJP’s ‘Hunkar rally’ venue, injuring one person.

Immediately after the explosion, bomb disposal swept the area and discovered two more crude bombs, railway superintendent of police Upendra Kumar Sinha said.

One security personnel was injured while defusing a bomb recovered from the toilet, he said.

At the rally, plumes of smoke billowed from a couple of sites even as BJP leaders, including its Prime Ministerial candidate Modi, addressed the crowd.

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 perpetrators are punished.

The home ministry has sought a report from the Bihar government on the explosions and is sending teams of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and National Security Guard (NSG) to the state.

“We are in regular touch with authorities in Bihar and have offered them all necessary assistance. We are trying to get more information,” minister of state for home R P N Singh said in Delhi, adding the Centre was ready to provide additional forces to maintain law and order.

The ministry has asked the state government to send a report about the nature of the bombs, suspected persons or organisations which could be behind it and steps taken to maintain law and order, official sources said.

The Centre also decided to send a team of explosive experts of the NIA to help the Bihar police in post-blast investigation, they said.

Station manager of Patna Junction Raju Kumar said eleven trains booked by the BJP for the rally had arrived much before the blast.

Patna City SP Jaykant said that security arrangements had been scaled up there.

The BJP demanded a probe into the blasts even as the incident triggered a political slugfest between the saffron party and its former ally JD(U).

“This blast cannot stop the youth from being part of Modi’s rally. There is anger among people and they want to get rid of Congress and also other parties who are standing with it,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

“Investigation should be done so as to find out who is behind it,” he said.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sabir Ali questioned why “such incidents were happening after JD(U) parted ways with BJP”.

“There is something suspicious. I can feel. They will divide the nation, divide the people only for power,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)(TOI)