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Security beefed up Taregna ahead of eclipse

By Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
July 21, 2009 14:08 IST
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The Bihar government has taken stringentmeasure to ensure the security of hundreds of scientists and eclipse watchersfrom across the world,who arrived at Taregna, a non-descript village near Patna to witness the longest total solar eclipse of the century on July 22, in view of Maoist call a bandh on Wednesday.

After an intelligence report that warned of a likely Maoist threat at Taregna during the bandh to create panic among scientists and eclipse watchers, the government decided to ramp up its security cover to counter this threat.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, R Mallar Vizhi said that foolproof security arrangements were made at Taregna."The Central Reserve Police Force as well as the Bihar Military Police and State Auxillary Police jawans have been deployed for security purpose," Vizhi said.

Additional Director General, police headquarters,Neelmani told on Tuesday that adequate security arrangement was made as a precautionary measure following the Maoist call for a bandh." Taregna in Masaurih sub division is a Maoist hit area, the police is doing everything to facilitate smooth and trouble free viewing of the solar eclipse by scientists, eclipse watchers and others including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar," Neelmani said.

A four tier security ring would be thrown around Taregna from Tuesday afternoon and security will be tightened in and around a newly constructed referral hospital, where scientists would spent the night ahead of the eclipse and watch the celestial phenomenon from its rooftop.

Security forces have been also deployed on both the road link as well as railway between Patna and Taregna as Maoists have targetted railway tracks and government schools during bandhs in the past. The Maoist call for a 24-hour bandh from Wednesday to protest against rising prices of essential commodities and fuel .

Taregna is where sixth-century Indian scientist Aryabhatt spent a lot of his time. Amitabh Ghosh, director of the Bihar council on Science and Technology said that it was in Taregna that Aryabhatta first revealed that the earth revolved round the sun and developed the concept of zero.

The total solar eclipse is expected to last three minutes and 48 seconds at Taregna, starting a little after sunrise on July 22.

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Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna