| Residents walk in and out of Patna Junction without security checks. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Sunday’s blasts have not served as a wake-up call for security personnel. A day after the serial blasts, the state capital witnessed very ordinary policing throughout the day.
In fact, many public places saw no security measures at all. The popular Mauryalok Complex, which is always busy and visited by many people, saw no security checks in place. “The blasts at Gandhi Maidan were scary. The police should be ensuring proper security at important public places. Here, at the Mauryalok Complex, I didn’t find much security. There was normal patrolling like on any other day. Anyone can walk in, plant an explosive device anywhere he wants to and flee. The police should be at all entry points of this complex, frisking people and their belongings. And anyone who appears suspicious should be rounded up,” Tanzeem Khan, a visitor at the Complex, said.
Security was found lax at the Patna Museum too. The few places one could feel secure were the P&M Mall and the Mahavir Sthan near Patna Junction, as private securitymen frisked people there.
Places like Biscomaun Building, which always witnesses a big crowd, also saw no security. “The area near Patna Junction is among the most crowded in Patna. Everyday it witnesses huge influx of passengers and daily commuters. Here too, one saw normal policing with some vehicles patrolling like on any other day. The police cannot afford to take it easy. With this attack, Patna has come on the terror radar,” Arun Kumar, a daily commuter, said.
Even at Patna Junction, which witnessed the city’s first terror attack, security measures seem to have been left at the mercy of god. The Telegraph visited there and found that security personnel have not learnt any lessons.
Nobody was being frisked at the entrance. There were hardly any security personnel at the junction or on any platform. No security personnel were checking the luggage passengers were entering platforms with. The two doorframe metal detectors at the entrance of Platform Number 1 were defunct, a security personnel confirmed for two months. Security personnel had just one hand-held metal detector but they were just wielding it, not frisking passengers with it. There were no travelling ticket examiners (TTE) to ensure only those with valid tickets entered the premises.
Government Railway Police (GRP) inspector of Patna Junction, Ram Pukar Singh, however, said: “I have made adequate arrangements at Patna Junction and security personnel have been deployed at all platforms. Extra precautions are being taken.” He, however, had nothing to say when told about the defunct doorframe metal detectors.
Talking about placing doorframe metal detectors at all platforms, Singh said: “Do you expect me to shell out money for the device at all platforms? I am sorry, I can’t do that.”