Surat on alert; more bombs recovered

July 29, 2008

Just two days after four bombs were found in Surat, six more live bombs were found in the city, four of which were defused by the Bomb Disposal Squad. Efforts are on to defuse the fifth and sixth bombs.

Earlier, the first bomb was found near the Ladeshwar Police Chowky in the Varaccha area of the city. Another live bomb was recovered from a market in Santosh Nagar, and was confirmed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Surat. The other explosives were reportedly recovered from the Mini Diamond market in Varaccha area of the city.

Following initial reports of the same, Surat police officials rushed to the area. The bombs were reportedly detonators, which could have gone off causing minor damage to the surroundings.

The bombs recovered by the Bomb Disposal squad bare an uncanny resemblance with each other and the ones that were found on Sunday (July 27). The explosives are reportedly wrapped in a newspaper which looks to be from the city of Vadodara.

Police officials suspect that more explosive-like substances have been planted in different parts the city. Following the alerts, the police cordoned off the area and restricted the traffic. Pedestrians were asked to keep off the area for security reasons.

RS Brar, Commissioner of Surat Police said, “We have cordoned off the area. We have appealed to the public to inform us if they find any objects of suspicion. We will take immediate action and are doing our best to ensure safety in the city.”

Meanwhile, there were reports that the OPD at the Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital had been evacuated after authorities reportedly received a call informing of a possible bomb. However, the police confirmed that it was a hoax call.

High alert had been sounded in Surat after four live bombs were defused on the outskirts of the city on Sunday (July 27)


Ahmedabad after Bangalore: Glaring lapses

July 28, 2008
An audacious attack in Ahmedabad, barely a day after serial blasts in India’s IT capital Bangalore, leads us to several obvious questions.

Is India now a sitting duck for terrorists? What is causing these men to attack India at will and get away with it?

Also, what about the role of intelligence agencies and the network formed to be in the know of any such attacks?

How could Ahmedabad be targeted hours after Bangalore?

What lessons have we learnt from similar attacks in the past and why have there been no conclusive breakthroughs?

There are more questions than answers.

Let us take a look at the first intelligence lapse that occurred. The Gujarat blasts took place within hours of nationwide alert after Bangalore blasts.

How could 16 bomb blasts take place in Ahmedabad when the entire country was on high alert?

In Ahmedabad, most bombs were placed on cycles and went off within a short time span like in Bangalore, Jaipur, Uttar Pradesh and Malegaon.

The second lapse was that the groups of serial bombers could not be traced.

It takes several people to carry out a serial blast, so how come they can’t be traced? And even those who provide them logistical support like houses, phones and transport could not be traced.

Modi and Gujarat are prime targets of the terror since the 2002 riots. How could intelligence agencies not even get a whiff of such an elaborate network? This was the third lapse on the part of the intelligence.

For the last three years, terrorists have been making minimal use of telecommunication devices before and after each strike, making it difficult for security agencies to track them.

Had there been a strong human intelligence network or local policing, things would have been easier. And this constitutes the fourth lapse.

And People like A S Dullat, former secretary of RAW and director of Intelligence Bureau, who have spent their entire life tracking terror, feel something is definitely wrong.

“It is very evident that there is an intelligence failure. I think there is a need to do a threat assessment of metros. For instance, leaders and state governments should take terror more seriously and not just depend on what is given to them,” said Dullat.

Under pressure, this is exactly what the Centre intends to do. Home Minister Shivraj Patil will meet chief ministers of all states, hoping to push through police modernisation and reforms. The Intelligence Bureau too will be upgraded.

Police reforms would in no doubt help but the big question is whether states would agree and more importantly how long will it take?