Punjab Govt despite being alerted not acted to prevent blast: Cent

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New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) The Centre today blamed the Punjab Government for not taking proper security measures despite being alerted about possible terror attacks due to which six people, including a child, lost their lives and 33 others injured in a blast at a cinema hall in Ludhiana.

Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal criticised the state Government's intelligence agencies for failing to alert the people concerned. He said the State Government's intelligence agencies in the districts were not working properly. ''There was a lapse somewhere. They were not able to inform the people concerned at the right time of where and in which place such incidents could take place,'' he said.

''The State government was alerted and it was responsible for stepping up the security. Punjab was sounded about certain organisations trying to create unrest. It was provided area-specific intelligence. The state governemnt was asked to remain vigilant against these elements, '' senior home ministry sources told reporters.

They said though intelligence input was not pinpointed, the state government should have acted responsibly and stepped up the overall security arrangements foreseeing the situation.

Moreover, it being the festival season, states were alerted to remain vigilant as temples, transport systems and public places were soft target.

Refusing to name a militant group which could be behind the blast, they said, ''We are examining the involvement and it will be premature to come to a definite conclusion. Till now, nobody has claimed the responsiblity of the blast.'' They said the Punjab Police Chief and the NSG team which visited Sringar cinema hall at Ludhiana had collected the blast material from the theatre where the blast struck last night during the screenig of a Bhojpuri film. The blast material is being sent to the forensic laboratory at Chandigarh for examination and the report was expected within two to three days.

Stating that nothing could be said whether RDX was used or not without scientific confirmation, they said at present nothing could be ruled out. ''However, one thing is clear that it was a high intensity blast.'' Asking the people to be vigilant, the Home Ministry officials said owners of shopping malls, cinema house, and other complexes must make in-house security arrangements. ''People will have to make their own system. State can provide security but it cannot be present everywhere. So cinema halls and shopping malls must make their own arrangements.'' they said asking the general population to remain careful.

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