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Serial blasts rock Patna ahead of NaMo's rally
Five killed, one held; no security lapses, Nitish says

Source: The Sangai Express / Agencies

N Delhi/Patna, October 27 2013: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ruled out any security lapse leading to serial explosions in the State capital ahead of Narendra Modi's rally that killed five people on Sunday.

"There was no intelligence input with the State Government," Nitish Kumar said, adding, "I would like to tell the BJP that all necessary security arrangements for the rally were made.

"The blasts were not due to any security lapse, but it is surely a challenge not just for the State but for the entire country," he said.

"The incident is a blot on the tradition of Bihar," the Chief Minister said welcoming the BJP's appeal for calm.

Five people were killed and 83 others were injured in seven explosions that rocked Patna on Sunday morning.

The condition of two of the injured is reported to be critical.

"The day and timing of the serial blasts indicate that there was an attempt to vitiate the atmosphere in the State," Nitish Kumar said addressing a press conference in the evening.

"The security agencies will surely track the people behind these blasts and the conspiracy will be exposed," the Bihar Chief Minister said.

Cops have arrested one person in connection with the deadly blasts, even as four live bombs were recovered from Gandhi Maidan, the venue of the BJP rally.

Nitish Kumar said the cops have got some important numbers and some leads from the arrested person.

Patna police have claimed to identify the organization responsible for serial blasts ahead of Narendra Modi's rally but refused to reveal its name.

The arrested suspect has confessed to carrying out a recce of Gandhi Maidan, the venue of the BJP rally.

He has told the police that he is a part of a 11-member gang.

Nitish Kumar has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of those killed in the blasts.

When asked for his comments on his Gujarat counterpart's description of he being an opportunist and hypocrite who "betrayed and backstabbed" socialist stalwarts like Jaiprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia, Nitish Kumar refused to react.

"This is not the time for that," Kumar told the questioner, apparently referring to the blasts, and after a short pause said with a smile, "that does not mean I do not want to say anything" .

The Bihar Chief Minister said he would definitely react at an appopriate time.

Earlier in the morning, six bombs exploded near the venue of Narendra Modi's rally minutes before he reached there to address a huge gathering.

Hours before these multiple explosions, a crude bomb went off in a newly constructed toilet at the Patna railway station, 2km from the BJP's 'Hunkar rally' venue.

Five low intensity blasts occurred on the outer periphery of the Gandhi Maidan, Union home secretary Anil Goswami said 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 the rally venue.

Later, there was another explosion at the site.

Immediately after the first explosion at the railway station, bomb disposal swept the area and recovered 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.

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

At the rally, plumes of smoke billowed from a couple of sites even as BJP leaders, including 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 Prime Minister has condemned the blasts in Patna and called for urgent steps to identify and take action against those responsible," a PMO statement said.

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

"I can't say whether it was a terror attack or political conspiracy.

Only after the investigation, we will be able to tell anything," Union minister of state for home RPN Singh said.

Modi later said he was saddened at the blasts.

"Blasts in Patna are deeply saddening and unfortunate.

Condolences with families of deceased and prayers with injured.

I appeal for peace and calm," the Gujarat chief minister said in a tweet.


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