In the first such attack in Patna, five people were killed and over 70 injured when serial blasts targeted Narendra Modi’s rally in the state capital’s Gandhi Maidan.
While six of the blasts occured around the rally venue, two bombs went off within 150 metres of the platform from where Modi delivered his speech. The last bomb went off at 12.25 pm — 20 minutes before Modi and top BJP leaders took the stage.
Four live bombs were later discovered near the rally venue. Though the Bihar Police did not call it a terror attack, Director General of Police Abhayanand confirmed the use of IED and timers. Intelligence sources also hinted at the use of ammonium nitrate, detonators, timer device and iron nails.
MoS (Home) R P N Singh told The Indian Express that it was too early to draw any conclusions regarding the identity of the attackers. “I can’t say whether it was a terror attack or political conspiracy. Only after the investigation will we be able to tell anything.”
One person, whose identity was not revealed, has been arrested and police claimed to have seized important documents from him.
Three of the five who died have been identified as Ramnarain Singh from Gaurichak near Patna, Vikas Singh from Kaimur and Munna Srivastava from Mirganj, Gopalganj. Whether they were political activists or had just come for the rally is yet to be determined. Most of the injured were attending the rally.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar condemned the blasts and appealed for calm. Home Ministry officials said there was no specific alert about the rally and it was solely up to the state government to decide what kind of arrangements were to be made. The Union Home Ministry had recently sent an advisory to all poll-bound states to maintain vigilance at election rallies.
Nitish himself said in a statement that there had been no intelligence input warning of such an attack and that even the BJP had not expressed apprehension of a blast.