| Nitish Kumar walks with JD(U) supporters in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Police on Sunday made elaborate security arrangements at Gandhi Maidan where chief minister Nitish Kumar sat on a dharna with his ministerial colleagues and senior party leaders to raise the state’s demand for special status.
Metal detectors were put in place for the visitors while sniffer dogs were pressed into service to detect any explosive at the venue of the sit-in agitation. Policemen in large number were deployed both inside and outside the maidan, which witnessed a series of blasts during Narendra Modi’s Hunkar Rally in October.
Senior police officers carried out security checks before the chief minister’s arrival. The entry of the visitors was restricted before an hour of the VIP’s visit. Additional closed-circuit television cameras had been installed and gun-toting men deputed at all the high-rise buildings around the maidan. Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj took stock of the security arrangements. He later said cops in mufti were also deployed from 1 Aney Marg to Gandhi Maidan.
“We carried out all security checks as we did not want to take any chance,” he said, adding that the police were deployed at all strategic locations as a precautionary measure.
It was perhaps for the first time that Nitish walked from 1 Aney Marg to Gandhi Maidan after becoming the chief minister. Though vehicles were kept off the roads, superintendent of police (traffic) Rajiv Mishra was assigned to ensure hassle-free movement. The location of Nitish was flashed on the wireless from time to time to facilitate the cops manning the traffic en route to the Gandhi Maidan.
Sources said over 200 policemen, including a dozen inspectors and sub-inspectors, were drafted for the VIP security. City SP Jayant Kant was also present.
During the October 27 Hunkar Rally, eight persons were killed in the string of explosions, the first of its kind in the city. “I have never seen such an elaborate security arrangement for the chief minister,” said a fast food shop owner near Biscomaun Bhavan.