‘UP ignored warnings; blasts were expected on Dec 6’
Varanasi/Lucknow: On a day when the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government sparred on the Varanasi terror attack with Home Minister P Chidambaram saying there was a specific advisory given on the possibility of a strike in one of the Ganga ghats, sources in Home Ministry have revealed that the state government did not allow raids at various spots in Uttar Pradesh days before the blast.
Not only that, it has been found in investigations that the blast that occurred on Tuesday was to occur at on December 6, the anniversary of Babri mosque demolition. The blast was to be serial blasts but did not occur due to very high security, sources in the Home Ministry revealed.
Even the email sent by Indian Mujahideen that claimed responsibility for the blast was signed on December 6.
Sources also said the UP Police was not “very cooperative” with the Central agencies.
After a visit to the blast spot and the hospitals where he consoled the injured, Chidambaram told reporters that he had not come to do a "jugalbandi" or blame anyone but asserted that the law and order was primarily the responsibility of the state.
"In fact, as far as UP is concerned, a specific advice was given on February 25, 2010 that the Dashashwamedh Ghat was one of the targets. So this area had been identified as a possible target in February 2010.
"I am not here to do a 'jugalbandi' to blame anyone but specific advisories were given.... It is for the government of UP to realise that it is first the responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order. Police and public order are state subjects," he said.
Sources said the state DGP was given specific information in March after interrogations with a suspect revealed a plan to strike Varanasi and Pune German Bakery.
The state government also countered Chidambaram's remarks that there was "some laxity" on the part of authorities that led to yesterday's blast in Shitlaghat that killed a two-year-old girl and injured 31 others.
Chidambaram, he added it would not be possible to give pin-point intelligence in advance about any incident.
He said on December 5, on the eve of the anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, another advisory was given to remain on alert.
"I think the police made some arrangements. But I think what has happened is that because the 'arti' takes place every night throughout the year, there may have been some kind of laxity. One may have assumed that it has been peaceful for so many weeks and so many months and that it would remain peaceful.
Shortly later, UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told a press conference in Lucknow that "there was no no specific actionable intelligence" from the Centre about possible terrorist activity in Varanasi and there was no laxity on the part of the state police.
"Holding the state responsible is not not justified. There was no specific actionable intelligence input regarding a terrorist act in Varanasi.
"An alert was received on February 25 this year but that was upto Dussehara festival only. How much this is actionable in December is for you to decide," Singh said.