'Bihar govt failed to follow its Rajya Dharma'

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday called the serial blasts in Patna an act of terror, and said it reflected the vulnerability of Indian society. The party also said the Bihar government was ‘soft on terror’.

Hunting for leads:  National Security Agency officials examine debris as they search for evidence at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

“The incident is unfortunate, certainly there were intelligence and security lapses, because of which the incident occurred,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the blasts came as a reminder of ‘vulnerability’, as mass gatherings occur in the run-up to elections.

Fighting to survive: The injured receive treatment at a hospital following the blasts. A series of crude bombs created mass panic at the maidan and killed 6 people. Pics/AFP

“India cannot afford to be either soft on terror or soft on security. A policy against terror and the need for security cannot be relatable to the policy of vote bank politics of a given government,” Jaitley said.

Six people were killed and over 80 injured on Sunday in a string of explosions that took place at Patna railway station and Gandhi Maidan, shortly before BJP’s prime minister candidate Narendra Modi spoke at a rally.

Party leader Shahnawaz Hussain said the Bihar government failed to follow its Rajya Dharma. “It’s the duty of the government to provide security to all rallies, regardless of the party organising it. The Bihar government failed to follow its Rajya Dharma,” he said.

In Patna, BJP leaders accused Nitish Kumar of “deliberate security lapses”. “It was not mere negligence, (but) deliberate security lapses,” former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said, claiming this was because Nitish Kumar is not treating Narendra Modi as a political opponent but as a ‘political enemy’. “It is a serious matter... Nitish Kumar will have to explain to people about the security lapses,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Nand Kishore Yadav questioned Nitish Kumar’s statement that there was no intelligence input. “The IB (Intelligence Bureau) alerted Bihar government on October 23 about a likely blast in Modi’s rally. But the state government ignored it,” he alleged.    

Close aide of IM co-founder Bhatkal behind blasts
Tahseen Akhtar, allegedly a member of Indian Mujahideen (IM), is the brain behind the string of explosions in Patna, authorities said on Monday. “Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu, accused of several terrorist attacks, is man behind serial blasts in Patna,” an Intelligence Bureau (IB) official said. “Initial investigation suggested the involvement of IM in serial blasts in Patna. The modus operandi and low-intensity bomb blasts are part of IM operation,” the IB official said.
The IB official said that one of the suspects who was arrested has confessed to the involvement of IM in Sunday’s seven blasts. “More information will come out after likely arrest of three or four suspects involved in the blasts,” the IB official said. Tahseen Akhtar, considered to be close to Yasin Bhatkal, the man who co-founded Indian Mujahideen, hails from a village in Samastipur, about 100 km from Patna. In the last few months, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on more than 10 occasions raided his native village but failed to find him. Earlier, the NIA issued an arrest warrant against Tahseen Akhtar, and also announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information that could lead to his arrest.                       

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