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It’s a bomb!

Thursday, December 09, 2010
By Kunal Chonkar

Is that a pressure cooker, a milk can or a tiffin box. No…

With blasts ripping through the nation with unfailing regularity, causing death and destruction, the challenges being faced by security and intelligence forces are getting further compounded with the fundamentalists adopting newer terror techniques and strategies. Even as investigation agencies are busy decoding the modus operandi, the radical outfits are now seen using the same bag of tricks employed by security forces.

“One of the core disciplines of the security agencies while sanitizing or combing a suspected area of high vulnerability is ‘Cue-Detection’. By activating it, the officers are able to detect and pinpoint the odd objects in an area and identify them as possible hazards,” said a senior Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officer requesting anonymity.

However, this very method of detection has now backfired. Terrorist groups, starting with the 2006 Varanasi twin station blasts, have decoded the ‘cue-detection’ technique and its implementation. Outsmarting the security agencies, they are now planting their explosives in simple objects familiar to a locality, like domestic appliances which are undetectable as suspicious objects, during a cue-detection exercise, and gel with the surrounding objects in the target area, informs the officer.

“If I were to place a big black bag near the steps of a temple, then it would be an odd object, as neither the bag, nor its functions resonate with the area (temple), but if the bag was replaced by a basket of flowers with hidden explosives, then it would be a perfect camouflage as it gels with the surrounding,” explained an the IPS officer.

Using domestic objects like dustbins, tiffin boxes, pressure cookers, bicycles and the latest being milk containers, terrorists have been able to outwit the security forces.

Death hides in familiar objects In the July 2008 blast in Ahmedabad, terrorists hid a powerful explosive in a trash can, killing 30  people. A similar ploy was followed in the September 2008 explosion in Delhi. When the security teams and police started searching and scanning trash cans, the terror groups moved to tiffin boxes. On September 27, 2008 a tremendous blast ripped through Delhi killing 29 persons.

“They are just  one step ahead of the security and intelligence units. After  garbage bins and tiffins, they then moved to installing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in vehicles, including cycles and tri-cycles,” said theofficer.

A cycle parked in a crowded market area of Jaipur, saw 80 perish while on New Year’s Day of 2009 an IED implanted on a cycle in Guwahati killed 32. 

Intending to create a Mass Casualty Attack (MCA), the IM used a sealed milk container at the crowded Sheetla Ghat area to maximize damage. “Milk is a very common part of the Hindu puja ceremonies. Thus, even with heightened security on the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, security forces failed to detect the explosive placed inside the milk container,” explained the officer.  

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