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Delhi Police has a lot to answer for

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2011 18:51 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
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The deadly Delhi High Court blast on Wednesday morning is a clear indicator that indigenous terror groups, or so-called remnants of Indian Mujahideen, have re-grouped. They have overcome difficulties with improvised explosive device (IED) hardware, and they now have the capability to strike at regular intervals all over the country.

The national capital is no stranger to terror attacks and a large number of them are still lying unsolved with the Delhi Police. This question the Delhi Police must answer now that innocents have been killed and scores injured by a brief case bomb today.

Notwithstanding the claims of Delhi Police, key perpetrators are at large in the following cases: Diwali bomb blasts on October 29, 2005; Jama Masjid bomb blast on April 14, 2006; Mehrauli blast on September 27, 2008; Jama Masjid firing and car bomb blast on September 19, 2010 and explosion outside Delhi High Court on May 25, 2011.

Unsolved terror cases embolden terrorists to take chances with the law enforcement agencies. It is not without reason that the Home Ministry handed over the investigation of the latest blast to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The Mumbai police could take cover after the blast on July 13 by saying that it had got no prior intelligence, but the Delhi Police does not have that convenient excuse.

The fact is that the Intelligence Bureau had alerted Delhi Police once the National Security Guard's (NSG) final report in July on May 25 Delhi High Court explosion indicated that it was no crude bomb but a lethal device. The NSG found the device contained nearly 1.5 kg of ammonium nitrate, which was mixed with PETN explosive and diesel fuel oil. The device had a timer with two detonators. Delhi was fortunate that the detonators caught fire and the exploded but not the core charge. At that point, top Home Ministry officials alerted the Delhi Police that the incident could be a dry run for future attacks in Delhi.

Either the Delhi Police's special cell, which is in charge of investigating terror cases, did not take this advice seriously or they simply had no clue about the culprits. It does not take a rocket scientist to predict that Delhi is a top target for terrorists in the sub-continent after Mumbai. Even the Jama Masjid car bomb on the second anniversary of Batla House encounter was enough to give sleepless nights to security though in this incident the detonator had caught fire too. The 13/7 Mumbai blasts showed that indigenous terrorists may have had overcome the detonator difficulty and the Delhi High Court blast on Wednesday only confirms it.

It is entirely possible that forces across Indian borders either helped them technically through Skype calls or even supplied them with detonators through sleeper spy modules. However, the response of the Delhi Police was predictable after the May 25 incident: teams were sent out to Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh to find out whether friends of deceased terrorist Atif Ameen were still active and technical inputs were used to scan through call data records. While one hopes that the NIA nails the culprits behind the heinous attack in Delhi, the Madhya Pradesh police did teach a lesson to our law enforcement agencies this June in how to fight terror.

The arrest of 10 Students' Islamic Movement of India men, who were out to target the three Allahabad high court judges who gave the Ayodhya dispute judgment, was done on the basis of manual intelligence and pavement thumping, not stand-off software and technical intelligence. The arrest of Abu Faisal alias Doctor, who ran Alpha Medical Store in East Andheri, Mumbai, along with his mentor Izzazuddin of Karneli in Madhya Pradesh revealed that Abdus Subhan Qureshi, the key Indian Mujahideen mastermind, module was still alive. This self-help financed module was found to have linkages with a cleric in Saudi Arabia with Izzazuddin as the link man. The NIA will have to think de novo if they have to solve the latest carnage in Delhi. The Delhi Police model does not work anymore.