R. Rajaram narrates how a bomb detection and disposal squad goes about its task after getting a call

Last week, the anti-sabotage team of the Tiruchi City Police were on their toes conducting checks inside the sprawling combined court complex acting on information that an explosive had been planted within the court premises.

The bomb check mission was carried out not only in Tiruchi that day, but in courts functioning in various other districts as well following receipt of threat calls. For nearly two hours, the Tiruchi court complex came under intense checks with Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) personnel armed with anti-sabotage equipment scanning various courts and their offices functioning within the complex and the outer areas leaving nothing to chance.

The meticulous checks by the BDDS team yielded nothing with the threat call only turning out to be a hoax. Days before this incident, similar checks were conducted for nearly three hours — this time at the Tiruchi Railway Junction in the late hours jointly by the anti-sabotage teams of the city police and the Railway Protection Force following an anonymous call. That too turned out to be a hoax. In a state of readiness round-the-clock, the BDDS team has sprung into action every time such threat calls were brought to its notice in the recent past.

Over the last 14 months, law enforcers had received 19 anonymous calls within the city limits with all of them turning out to be hoax.

No prankster has been arrested in connection with the anonymous threat calls made in the recent past for want of evidence, admit law enforcers. The anonymous call barely lasts a few seconds, but the follow up action launched by the anti-sabotage team goes on for a longer duration as they it will not vacate unless fully convinced that there was no explosive substance anywhere in that spot or in its vicinity, say police sources.“Anonymous it may be, but we treat every threat call as a live bomb call,” says a senior city police officer.

The fire service and ambulance service are alerted immediately upon receipt of the threat call and the place or building where the explosive substance is said to have been planted would be kept out of bounds of the public to enable the anti-sabotage team to carry out its search, says the officer. Power is turned off as a safety measure and people evacuated from the building before launching the bomb checking operation. The specific task that every team member needs to carry out is decided while heading towards the spot in the vehicle and the action plan drawn up before arriving at the spot. The services of a ‘nodal officer’ who is aware of the finer details of the building or the place, where the mission is to be carried out, are utilised, the officer says. The duration of the checks depends on the area to be covered.

Some checks last 30 minutes, but some take two hours and more. The team will not move out without becoming fully satisfied that there is no explosive substance in that spot or in its vicinity, the officer said.