Alerts – Ahoy!
By Maxwell Pereira
blasts returned to Delhi after eight long years. After the last
ones in 1997, we had two on Sunday the 22nd May night, miscreants
chosing movie theatres Liberty and Satyam in the Central Delhi
area. Acts of terrorists, for its terror and panic that whoever
was behind this had set out to achieve, whatever be the ultimate
goal or objective. While the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee
was quick to cash in on the incidents and link the blasts to Sikh
resentment againt Sunny Deol’s film “Jo Bole So Nihal”
which was being screened at both the theatres, the Delhi Police
was guarded – merely their usual finger pointing “ISI
Police wasn’t off-track. And they have a history of working
out all its blasts. They did it this time too. Within just a week
they arrested two, and then again on Sunday June 5, another two.
All from Babbar Khalsa, indicating that dormant Sikh terrorism
has once again reared its head.
incidents take my mind back to the paranoia ridden security scenario
of the 80s and better part of the 90s, a time when no one knew
where and when the dreaded terrorist would stike, or a militant
would set off a bomb – leaving in its wake death and destruction.
The screaming headlines then – “Police fail to prevent
blast”, and the invariable claims from agencies responsible
for supplying ‘intelligence’ on how they had forewarned
of such imminent threat of attack. Always the accusing finger
– “I told you so!” Is Delhi heading back to
that kind of scenario again?
everyone perhaps talks about or has knowledge of the hundreds
of other occasions when police get told about with annoying regularity
of the alarming ‘inputs’ and are passed on fresh information
that invariably warrants a new ‘red alert’ –
in anticipation of every occasion, national day, anniversary of
bygone events, birthdays and deaths of departed leaders. Come
rain, shine or hell fire, on each occasion ‘unprecedented’
(as most media loves to put it compulsively) security steps are
ensured, and the threat averted. No respite, no letting up on
the intelligence inputs, to ultimately dullen the sensibilities
of even the most diligent cop on the beat, driving him to inevitable
cynicism under the circumstance. Leading him to quip at times
– “When has Delhi Police lowered it’s guard?
Has the ‘red alert’ ever been lifted?”
it would be interesting for the common man to know what then was
the state of security preparedness to meet such threats and what
were the preventive measures taken; and what is/ could be the
scenario now. May be as an aide de memoir for police action plans
and foremost, the task of collecting intelligence about the possible
designs of subversive elements – be it by the Special Branch,
the Crime Branch, or the District police networks. Is the reliance
totally on the central intelligence agencies for inputs?
to obviate problems faced in checking within highly commercial
areas, publicmen including traders gainfully used for joint patrolling
anongside police personnel. Checking of lodging houses and guest
houses, a regular exercise, to exclude possibilities of terrorists
finding safe hide-outs there. Likewise the exercise to register
every new tenant hiring a house from a landlord; the onus on the
landlord to report; but without the little local police prodding
this rarely happens. Every new tenant is required to be verified
stations had dedicated staff to concentrate on anti-terrorist
measures exclusively. Personnel trained in counter insurgency
measures. Discussions on subjects of terrorism, militancy and
extremism made compulsory in briefings at police stations. Group
patrolliing organized at random in crowded market places and by
surprise in other areas by patrolling parties. Special attention
to areas and establishments considered vulnerable to terrorist
attacks – railway stations, bus terminals, cinema houses
and other places of public assembly. Sniffer dogs pressed into
service along with personnel, to detect explosive material. PCR
staff sensitised and deployed for maximum visibility and accessibility.
Most importantly, debriefing of all checking done, to rake in
benefits of feedback and ensure follow-up.
meetings with cinema house owners and managers, market associations,
bus owners and drivers, security officers of public and private
buildings, restaurant owners and similar establishments –
apprising them of security precautions to be taken. Educating
the public through cinema slides, announcements, and advertisements
– one is so familiar with those standard instuctions never
to touch an unidentified object, and to report on every suspicious
person or activity!
utility and facility areas like bathrooms, lavatories, even garbage
dumps, checked through karamcharies. Security arrangements at
large office complexes – public or private, periodically
reviewed, the security personnel constantly briefed. A beatwise
census of migrants, be it of any community, maintained in every
police station. Delhi Police uses spotters from other States too,
to identify militant eelments and help maintain surveillance.
the Americans could not work out their Atlanta bomb blasts, they
wanted to know how Delhi police solved its blast cases. It is
indeed amazing how Delhi Police has invariably reached every culprit
to detect all its bomb blasts. While there is need to keep up
this track record, it is necessary hone the preventive skills
too, once again.
words: 06.06.2005: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23,
Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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