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Lapses By UP Police Led to Blast, Says Chidambaram

Varanasi, Dec 8 :  The Centre  had sent an advisory to the Uttar Pradesh government warning against a possible terror strike at the popular Dashashwamedh Ghat here but there might have been lapses on the
PTI December 08, 2010 15:37 IST
PTI
Varanasi, Dec 8 :  The Centre  had sent an advisory to the Uttar Pradesh government warning against a possible terror strike at the popular Dashashwamedh Ghat here but there might have been lapses on the part of authorities that led to the blast, Home Minister P Chidambaram today said.

Chidambaram, who visited the site of the explosion that left a child dead and 31 others injured, said, "A specific advice was given to UP on February 25 this year identifying Dashashwamedh Ghat as the possible target of terrorists and though police had made all arrangements there might have been some lapses which led to the blast yesterday".

"There were also advisories on the second anniversary of the November 26 Mumbai attacks and for the Babri Majid demolition anniversary on December six. After both the days passed off peacefully, the police might have relaxed but there is no scope of any relaxation as each day is a new day," he told reporters.

Regretting the unfortunate incident, Chidambaram said that despite security arrangements and presence of a platoon of police personnel, someone managed to plant IED at the ghat which resulted in the blast.

Chidamabaram extended condolences to all those who suffered in the blast especially to Santosh Kumar Sharma, whose daughter was killed.

The Home Minister said one of the patients in the hospital identified as Phool Mani, who had suffered head injuries, was serious while the others were all reported to be out of danger and being extended the best of medical treatment.

Chidambaram had a word of praise for the doctors treating the patients and said excellent medical facilities were been provided. He said the next step was to ensure the patients are treated and some compensation is given to them. "We will take care of it when I go back to Delhi".

To a question whether National Investigating Agency would probe the blast, Chidambaram said it would be decided only later on the basis of progress in investigations.

He, however, expressed confidence that Uttar Pradesh Police would investigate the matter and make a breakthrough in it. "Police would investigate the matter and the culprit would be found in the near future", he said.

Police have termed the blast as low to medium intensity but it was strong enough to throw splinters upto 20 to 30 feet and hit the people.

Several people have been injured due to splinters and many others suffered fractures in the stampede that followed, Chidambaram said, adding that evidences have been collected from the blast site by the forensic teams.

Chidambaram said another forensic team was also coming to inspect the blast site.

Congratulating the people of Varanasi for showing exemplary spirit in the face of the challenge, he said, "The attempt of terrorists is to disturb peace and they cannot succeed as long as the people remain peaceful and live in harmony".

The Home Minister said he has been told as to how people of different communities live in peace and harmony in localities near the blast site as well.

Noting that there had been only one terror related case in Pune in February this year, Chidambaram said he had been praying and hoping that 2010 would pass off peacefully but this incident in Varanasi came as the year was drawing to a close.

"This is the fourth incident of the type in Varanasi beginning from 2005, then at the Sankat Mochan temple in 2006, another at the Kutchery in 2007 but the last three years had been relatively peaceful", he said, adding 2009 had been free of terror attack in the country. PTI