Jaideep Shenoy

Recent events call for more such squads: Srikumar

At present, there is only one squad, which is stationed in Bangalore

The proposal is to have additional squads in Gulbarga, Hubli and Mangalore

MANGALORE: After the July 25 bomb blasts in Bangalore, the State police have been voicing the need for additional bomb detection and disposal squads in Karnataka. In fact, the State police top brass has sent a proposal to the State Government to set up additional squads, which would be strategically located in Hubli, Gulbarga and Mangalore, to meet exigencies such as the one witnessed here, at Gulbarga and Kolar on Monday.

The Director-General and Inspector-General of Police R. Srikumar told The Hindu over phone from Bangalore that there is an urgent need for additional squads which can meet any sort of emergencies posed by detection of bombs and explosives. The State, at present, has one such squad stationed in Bangalore under the intelligence wing of the department. It is this squad which would have to be pressed into service to meet bomb threats.

Mr. Srikumar said any bomb threat has to be countered at three levels. At the initial level the community has to alert the local police in case they come across any suspicious object, which could be an explosive device. It is then the job of the local police to isolate such objects and keep it in a safe location, he said. The actual work of defusing a bomb is a highly specialized skill and has to be left to the squad, the DGP said.

Stating that the 25-strong squad, possesses a high level of skill sets needed to detect and defuse bombs of various kinds, Mr. Srikumar said the department recognising the need for more such squads, has worked out the details and would take the issue forward with the State Government. The recent chain of events across the State has only underscored the need for more such bomb detection squads, he said. Senior police officials, who did not wish to be quoted, added that each district has dedicated anti-sabotage check teams. “Personnel on the teams are trained to detect bombs, isolate them and sanitise the area where they have been kept,” the sources said. The department has sensitised these personnel on countering bomb threats by giving them specialised training at the training unit of the wing, the sources said.

The squad has specialised equipment to detect and defuse bombs and it can be sent to any part of Karnataka by road, in case of emergencies. “The squad can also be sent by aeroplanes if the situation so warrants,” the sources said.

Each person on the squad has around 15 years of experience, the sources said.