| A policeman stands guard at one of the gates at Gandhi Maidan on Wednesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Morning walker Brajesh Kumar is careful in watching each step at Gandhi Maidan but not the children engrossed in cricket.
Exactly a month after serial blasts in and around the city’s largest green patch rocked the BJP’s Hunkar Rally, enthusiastic people, especially youngsters, turned up on Wednesday to enjoy the winter sun almost oblivion to the maiden terror attack on the state capital.
The scene of fright and horror changed to one that of leisure and merriment. “Arre, aaj ke din hi toh blast hua tha pichhle mahine (The blasts took place on this day last month),” recalled one of the teenagers playing cricket at one corner of the Maidan where the stage was set for Narendra Modi’s maiden rally in the city.
But where’s the security men supposed to guard the gates? As many people are seen enjoying the early winter warmth, security is just a word. “No way. We are doing our job seriously. We have been asked to stay at the gate and look for anyone or anything suspicious,” said a lathi-wielding police constable.
“I really do not want to remember the events, which took place last month. It has been only a few days that I mustered up the courage to enter Gandhi Maidan for my regular morning walks. Sometimes I spot policemen but only near the new statue of Mahatma Gandhi. And, I seriously watch my steps as I move,” Brajesh Kumar, a resident of the Exhibition Road area, said.
The district administration maintained that a process was on to create a “detailed protocol” regarding Gandhi Maidan security.
“The police at the Maidan are for random checks and also to boost confidence of the people. A detailed protocol for Gandhi Maidan is being prepared and meetings for this have taken place. But we urge the people not to fear and enjoy the winter in the Maidan,” an official at the district administration said.
Ranjit Sharma, an employee at State Bank of India, was hardly looking confident.
“My office is located right in front of one of the main gates of the Maidan. I do remember days when we used to go to the ground during lunch hours in winter. I am ready to go as I do think that there is no threat factor. But none of my colleagues wants to visit it,” he said.
At the platform No. 10 of Patna Junction too, from where the blast nightmare had begun, it is like any other day with no special efforts having been made to stay afoot and alert. “I am a regular traveller to Gaya, my workplace. I take one of the local trains to Gaya from Patna Junction and I do not really find any major security arrangements. A few days after the blasts, the security was tight with cops frisking people and the luggage also being checked. Now the same has stopped with little checks,” said Samresh Thakur, a resident of Patna.
The blasts in Patna, allegedly masterminded by Indian Mujahideen, had left seven persons, including a terrorist, dead and more than 80 people injured.