Patna Hunkar Rally
Modi braved terror & opponents' threat Saved Bihar and nation of a catastrophe
By Amba Charan Vashishth
Most counties, like USA and UK, have succeeded in eliminating terror from their soil. India with enormous resources of men and material at her command has failed to do so. Terror is a national problem eating into the vitals of this country. It is crying for a national resolution. But our politicians motivated not by considerations of national interest, but lured by narrow political and electoral considerations, do not wish to take a united stand against terror. They do not wish to commit political harakari because if they stop indulging in retailing in politics of opportunism, of 'secularism-communalism' they will, then, have to down their shutters.
Political parties in India, particularly those claiming to be ‘secular’, play the minority card to bloat their vote banks. Congress stands amply exposed on this score. Spurred by communal considerations of vote bank politics JD (U) too did not lag behind. This was amply demonstrated when Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) government in Bihar refused to take custody of the dreaded terrorist and Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal. That was the reason, according to press reports, why the National Inquiry Agency (NIA) had to be called in.
There is no gainsaying the fact that only two main political parties, JD (U) and Congress, were feeling nervous of the BJP’s 27 September Hunkar Rally in Gandhii Maidan, Patna to be addressed by BJP's prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Nitish government tried its best to put every obstacle to see that the rally did not materialize. First, it cancelled the permission for the Rally in the historic Gandhi Maidan taking the plea that the President of India would be in town on that day for a two-day visit and it would be difficult to provide adequate security because Bihar police hands would be tied up with President’s security. Refusing to be a pawn in this political controversy, President Pranab Mukherjee curtailed his visit to one day. Nitish government was then left with no other alternative but to acquiesce into granting permission for the rally.
It is the moral and legal duty of any government to provide security to both the political leaders addressing the rally and people joining it. The Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is on record having claimed that his ministry had sent advance inputs about the threat to the rally. In spite of that, the terrorists could strike at the Patna railway station and in and around the Gandhi Maidan itself. There are reports that although the Bihar government claimed to have sanitized the area five times, yet bombs exploded inside the venue of the rally and a few feet from the dais from where the national BJP leaders addressed the meeting.
GOVT CASUAL & CALLOUS
Eulogizing the BJP leaders of ""for their remarkable presence of mind, equanimity and far-sightedness in underplaying the bomb blasts, in his signed editorial in November 2013 issue of the SOUTH ASIA POLITICS the Editor Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap lamented that "from media reports it is obvious that ….basic security drill was not followed, intelligence inputs were ignored, necessary security measures were not taken, there were no metal detectors or CCTVs installed, anti-bomb squads were missing, and on the whole, the approach seemed to be casual, callous and negligent." Bombs exploded while the rally was on.
Bihar government, for unexplained reasons, failed to discharge its constitutional obligation to provide security to those attending the rally. It was surprising that although 8 innocent people had died and more than 100 persons had been injured, some seriously, yet the Bihar government had no regret and on the contrary, was found finding fault with Mr. Narendra Modi and organizers for the tragedy.
JD (U) government claimed that Mr. Modi was informed of the blasts when he alighted at Patna airport and advised not to proceed to the rally site. Brushing aside the advice and the threat Mr. Modi forged ahead for the rally. So did the other leaders — BJP national President Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and other national and State BJP leaders.
ROSE TO THE OCCASION
Mr. Modi rose to the occasion and displayed a rare sense of courage and foresightedness in not abandoning the rally. He knew that his doing so would trigger instant panic and stampede resulting in possible death of not less than a few thousand from the crowd of more than five lakhs. That would also have painted Mr. Modi as a coward too keen for his own safety while exposing lakhs of his supporters who had come from far and wide to an unfortunate orgy of death and destitution. The NIA charge-sheet against the persons accused, according to Press reports, states that their intention was to trigger a stampede killing thousands. Had the BJP leaders not been that prudent, they would have fallen in the trap laid by the terrorists and had only been instrument in terrorists realising their goal.
The speakers at the rally too did not give the slightest hint of anything being amiss. They addressed the people as if nothing had happened. They trivialised bomb explosions as sound of cracker and tyre bursts which needed just to be ignored. In the process, they exposed their own life to great risk.
Five low intensity bombs exploded in the Gandhi maidan during the Hoonkar rally of Narendra Modi on October 27, four live bombs were recovered from the same venue later after end of the rally. In subsequent days, five more live bombs were found inside the maidan during search operation by Patna police and CRPF.
Everything else is self-evident, nothing more to elaborate.