Patna: The BJP today accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of “gross criminal negligence” in lax security arrangements after six people were killed by bombs at Sunday’s rally by their leader Narendra Modi.
Six people were killed and 83 injured in serial blasts that ended shortly before Mr Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, addressed tens of thousands of supporters in the heart of the city. (Patna blasts: two arrested, police suspects Indian Mujahideen)
By the time Mr Modi landed in Patna around noon, the blasts had begun.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley who was present at the rally says that the Bihar Police offered no advice on whether the gathering should be cancelled or delayed.
“We had decided how to handle the crowd without the advice of the Bihar Police. We did not want to create panic,” said Mr Jaitley, stressing that leaders like him were worried that if the crowd felt it was vulnerable to a terror strike, a stampede could erupt.
Mr Jaitley said that some members of the Gujarat police, who escort and guard Mr Modi along with commandos of the National Security Guard, did suggest that the rally be cancelled. However, Mr Jaitley said other leaders like him drew up an emergency evacuation plan and proceeded with their plans, because they did not want to signal to the massive crowd that there was any cause for panic.
The Bihar Police claims that it asked for the rally to be delayed by 45 minutes, and that it informed BJP leaders that it did not have the resources to sanitise every part of the large public park.
But a glut of embarrassing lapses have emerged in its arrangements. (Patna blasts: security lapses appear basic, and plenty)
There were no metal detectors for the six entrances to the park. No drills had been conducted by the police for emergencies.
Though the first blast took place at the train station at 9:30 am, there was no bomb disposal squad posted at the venue of the rally nearly two hours later.