Incentives for those providing pre-emptive credible inputs might pay rich dividends, feels Devesh K. Pandey

The recent serial blasts in different parts of the country have created an atmosphere of insecurity in the Capital that has seen several such attacks in the past. But what is even more worrisome now is that terrorists appear to have the wherewithal to strike at will.

The terror attacks, especially the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad that were followed by the recovery of over 20 improvised explosive devices in different parts of Surat, indicate that although the terrorists have been using low-intensity explosives they have been able to cause extensive damage. Also, these elements have been picking up as many targets as possible to give the impression that they are simply unstoppable. The frequency of the attacks indicates that a large number of subversive elements are now present in the country.

Through carefully drafted e-mails whose senders are yet to be identified, the terrorists have also made it clear that their modules consist of some highly educated computer-savvy people with a sound knowledge of bomb configuration.

In the wake of these developments, the Delhi police have taken several counter-terrorism measures. While nearly 3,000 new recruits have been deployed on the ground to increase visibility, the police have sought cooperation from agencies like the civic bodies in taking measures to strengthen security arrangements across the city. Patrolling has also been intensified.

However, many police officers feel that much still remains to be done in terms of upgrading the surveillance mechanism and expanding the network of informers for developing actionable intelligence to thwart the evil designs of terrorist outfits. “Although closed-circuit television cameras have been installed in some marketplaces, there is a need to extend them to all places that are high in the list of probable targets. Those monitoring the surveillance system should also be properly trained,” said a senior police officer, adding that there should be no slackness in registering cases pertaining to vehicle thefts. In Gujarat, stolen cars were used to transport explosives and plant bombs.

Besides, sale of chemicals like ammonium nitrate that can be used to configure bombs need to be brought under strict regulation. “These chemicals can easily be procured from places outside Delhi,” said another police officer, adding that a regular audit of shops possessing licences for sale of such chemicals should be done to keep track of the consignments.

To strengthen intelligence gathering, the police also need to encourage the public to pass on any input of significance.

While the authorities usually announce rewards after the occurrence of an incident, fine-tuning the system of incentives for those providing pre-emptive credible inputs might pay rich dividends.