PATNA: One person was killed and at least 20 others injured as serial blasts ripped through Patna just hours before Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was to address the Hunkar Rally in the city on Sunday.
Some reports said that as many as five low-intensity blasts took place in Bihar’s capital, while others reports suggested that there were three explosions: one at a toilet at the Patna railway station and the others blasts near the venue of the Modi’s mega rally at Gandhi Maidan.
Patna has been put on high alert following the blasts which are extremely significant given that hundreds of thousands of BJP workers, supporters and Modi admirers have gathered in the city to listen to Narendra Modi’s speech.
It is learnt that the bomb disposal squad have meantime defused at least two other bombs which had been rigged with a timer device.
The Home Ministry has sought a report from the Bihar government on the serial blasts in Patna and has sent a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to assist in further investigations.
Even as the local administration said that the situation is under control, one suspect has reportedly been arrested in connection with the blasts.
Traces of ammonium nitrate have apparently been found at the blast sites and as the bombs were rigged with timer devices, it appears that the bombs may not be as crude as was earlier suspected.
Meanwhile, the BJP has said that it will go ahead with the rally and that Modi will address the huge rally, which is supposed to the largest ever seen in Patna, although the explosions have caused major chaos at the venue of the rally.
The blasts have created panic among the large number of people who have assembled at Gandhi Maidan for the Hunkar Rally.
Television reports showed images of plumes of smoke billowing from a couple of sites where the crude bombs went off near the Gandhi Maidan. However, there have been no reports of any casualty as yet other than the one death that occurred due to the blast at the Patna railway station.
Earlier in the day, a crude bomb exploded at a toilet at platform number 10 of the Patna railway station.
Two country-made bombs were also found at the station, which, reports said, had been defused. RPF sources said that the explosion took place in a paid toilet at the station, reported the Indian Express.
The SSP said that bomb disposal and forensic teams have reached the spot and the area was being sanitized.
Home ministry has sought report from Bihar government on Patna railway station blast that killed one person.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh meanwhile challenged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to find the culprits behind the explosion ahead of Modi’s rally. “What a coincidence blast at Patna Railway on the day of Modi’s Rally! Challenge to Nitish Govt to find the culprit!,” he tweeted, giving the entire incident a political hue.
The BJP has demanded a probe into the incident and said its supporters would not be deterred by the explosions.
The BJP has painted Patna saffron ahead of Modi rally. A 20-feet platform has been set up for the rally. Besides Modi, the rally will also be addressed by party president Rajnath Singh and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, reports said.