The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police temple flip-flop

Ahmedabad, Sept. 30: The investigation into the Swaminarayan temple attack skidded from the mysterious to the farcical with Gujarat police changing their story on a “breakthrough” more than once today.

Reports had circulated in Gujarat this morning that two persons had been picked up in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh in connection with the temple attack. But officials in Madhya Pradesh said the two had been detained over the murder of a police constable in Gujarat.

The confusion was doused for a while when Gujarat director-general of police K. Chakravarthy and Ahmedabad police commissioner K.R. Kaushik denied that the detentions in Madhya Pradesh were linked to the temple attack.

A few hours later, Chakravarthy issued a statement saying that the two have been “detained to question their link with the temple attack”, though it stressed that they were “merely suspects”. The statement added that the two suspects were detained by the crime branch “somewhere” between Bhopal and Indore. Chakravarthy also expressed confidence that a “breakthrough” would be made to unravel the attack conspiracy.

However, late tonight, Chakravarthy issued another statement saying that the “two persons arrested in Shahjapur (Madhya Pradesh) have no connection with the temple attack”.

The identity of the two picked up in Madhya Pradesh was not disclosed officially. But some officials had earlier identified them and hinted that investigators were trying to establish whether the two had any role in supplying arms to the two militants who stormed the temple.

This is the second time in three days that confusing signals were sent by government agencies. On Friday, “highly placed” sources in Delhi had told a news agency that the two militants had been identified as Pakistanis. But the government has not yet come out with an official announcement.

The state government had on Sunday despatched 16 police teams across the country to trace the “local link” of the two militants.

Squads of policemen today scoured railway stations and retiring rooms in Gujarat’s capital in view of the formal reopening of the Swaminarayan temple tomorrow. Personnel from the State Reserve Police Force have been deployed in strength around the temple. Similar arrangements have been made at the Ambaji temple, from where Narendra Modi is set to kick off the fourth phase of the Gaurav Yatra on October 5.

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