Vinod Anand | 09 Aug 2013

PUNE BLASTS (Vinod Anand) The Pune blasts, on the eve of Raksha Bandhan, should not be taken lightly even if the bombs that went off at five places in quick succession were of low intensity. One reason for the low-intensity bombs could be the damp weather. As stated by bomb disposal experts the moist weather reduced the intensity and avoided some blasts. This means that there could still be some bombs lying unexploded because of the moist weather. Does that mean that when the weather dries up these undiscovered bombs too may explode? This apprehension should call for strong combing operations. It should not be forgotten that Pune has had an unfortunate association with radical elements. The bomb blasts must have revived the horrible memories of the 2010 German Bakery blast that killed 17 persons. As reported: ‘The blasts come close after the anniversary of the Mumbai blasts last year.’ It may also be mentioned that the Indian Mujahideen has been recruiting many of its cadres from Pune. The America-born Pak spy Headley had also visited Pune for the purpose of espionage. What is more, at least four blasts were reported from Junglee Maharaj Road in the heart of the city. It is a crowded area and was more busy than usual on the eve of Rakhsha Bandhan. The police authorities are trying to play down the blasts. A tailor named Patil, who was injured in one of the blasts when he picked up an abandoned bag out of curiosity, was arrested and is being implicated. City’s Police Commissioner Gulab Rao Pot says-even before an inquiry has been done!-that ‘there is no involvement of terrorist group’ and that ‘the intention was to make mischief and create panic in the mind of the public’. This is the usual excuse that police gives all over the country to minimize the importance of such happenings lest it should be accused of having failed to prevent the blasts. But Home Secretary RK Singh does not think so. He has said that terror angle cannot be ruled out in Pune explosions as it appears to be planned attack. What is more, 14 states, including Uttar Pradesh, have been put on high alert following the blast, clearly indicating that the explosions were not mere pranks by mischievous elements. Moreover NIA teams would not have been rushed to Pune from Mumbai and Delhi had the blasts been merely high-sounding crackers. And if it is true, as suspected, that a timer device was used, the seriousness of the planned blasts cannot be undermined. No wonder Home Minister Shinde has ordered a probe. Incidentally, near the sites of the blasts at Tilak Smarak, Sushit Shinde was scheduled to present the Tilak Puraskar to Baba Amte’s sons Prakash and Vikas Amte on that very evening, close to the blast timings. He, however, cancelled his visit at the last minute as he was to take charge of the Union Home Ministry that very day. The sounding of a nationwide alert is a step in the right direction. In view of the approaching Independence Day celebrations in Delhi and major official functions in State capitals, this precaution is very timely.     PAGE  PAGE 1