The Delhi Police have a list of hundreds of vital installations that need protection. According to experts, barring a few buildings such as Parliament, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan , most installations in the city are vulnerable to terror attacks.
Delhi is always under threat, the level of which is increased on certain days, senior police officers said.
A senior police officer said that Delhi was always under threat, the level of which is increased on certain days. Central agencies send terror inputs almost every week and hence there is not a single day when the threat level is low.
Security experts believe that reacting to a terror attack is one thing while preventing it is another.
“A terror attack is the final closure of an operation planned months in advance. The need is to develop intelligence and work towards preventing it. The smuggling of arms into the city needs to be stopped,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management and South Asia Terrorism portal.
In the past, there have been numerous instances of weapons smuggled into the city from parts of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh being seized in bulk.
Officials believe that markets and shopping malls top the list of vulnerable targets. With private security guards not trained to conduct checks, an officer said underground parking spaces make it easy for terrorists to strike. At most markets, the door frame metal detectors usually do not work.
“Guards check the boot and the bonnet of cars. Terrorist can easily stock explosives under the seat and park their vehicles. On weekends, when the parking is full, anyone can cause an explosion,” said a senior police officer.
“It is not practical to guard all markets and malls,” said former Delhi police commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma.
Sharma said people will complain of harassment, if police start conducting stringent checks across malls and market places.
In foreign countries, he said, people are observant and respond more quickly. According to a UK daily 2013 report, there is one CCTV camera for every 11 residents in London. In Delhi, not all roads or market places are covered by the CCTV cameras.
“The last terror attack in Delhi was on an Israeli diplomat’s wife in 2012. No camera captured that incident. Absence of CCTV cameras was felt in the 2010 blasts outside the high court. Absence of cameras adds to the vulnerability,” said another officer.
Easy availability of SIM cards too helps terrorists, another officer believes. “Recently, an arrested Pakistani spy was found using a SIM that he had procured on a fake identity. Terrorists need cell phones to talk and chat with their handlers,” said an officer.