5 killed in Patna serial explosions, 1 arrested
Patna: Five people were killed and 80 injured in seven bomb blasts here, hours before Narendra Modi’s arrival to launch BJP’s campaign for elections next year.
One person was arrested and four suspects detained in this connection. The man, who was allegedly running way from railway station, has reportedly confessed to planting the bombs. Bombs were allegedly detonated using timers.
The first blast took place at the railway station at 9:30 am, while six others took place within an hour at the Gandhi Maidan, where Modi, BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate, addressed a huge gathering later.
While the five died from blast injuries, 80 were being treated for injuries, said Vimal Karak, the deputy superintendent of Patna Medical College Hospital.
The 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.
After the explosion at the railway station, bomb disposal swept the area and recovered five more crude bombs, railway superintendent of police Upendra Kumar Sinha said.
A security personnel was injured while defusing a bomb recovered from the railway station toilet, he said.
At the rally, plumes of smoke billowed from a couple of sites even as BJP leaders, including Modi, addressed the crowd.
PM CONDEMNS BLASTS
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.
"The Prime Minister has condemned the blasts and called for urgent steps to identify and take action against those responsible," a PMO statement said.
NIA, NSG TEAMS SENT
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 a political conspiracy. Only after investigation we will be able to tell anything," minister of state for home R P N 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.