The Delhi Police Special Cell planted 30 dummy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in places with high footfall over the past month to check police alertness over the last month.
TO CHECK preparedness of police departments in the national capital, the Delhi Police Special Cell “infiltrated and planted” 30 dummy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in places with high footfall over the past month, of which only 12 were detected — by the public, private security guards and local police.
The decision to conduct the dummy IED drive was taken in light of a warning by Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) that it would orchestrate suicide bombings in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat over comments on the Prophet made by suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma.
“The first batch of 15 dummy IEDs was planted on June 12 across Delhi’s districts, and 10 of them were detected. Of the 10, two were detected by the public in Southeast and North districts; three by security guards of malls in South, Rohini and Outer districts; and five by the local police in North, Northeast, East, Northwest and Outer North districts,” a senior police officer said to a news agency. At a recent crime review meeting, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Hargobinder Singh Dhaliwal made a presentation before Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana about the need to conduct such mock infiltration exercises.
Dhaliwal also informed the police chief that another batch of 15 dummy IEDs was planted on June 28, again in all the districts, but this time 13 couldn’t be detected. The two that were detected had been planted in the northern range. “The IEDs were planted openly by the Special Cell – in a flower pot, near a dustbin at a mall, outside the gate of Palika Bazar,” an officer said.
After the presentation, Asthana asked Dhaliwal to conduct a similar drive at the IGI airport, railway and Metro stations to check the alertness of police and ensure vigilance. Initially, the Special Cell had decided to conduct such a drive twice a month, but they now plan to conduct it once every month.
A letter issued last month by DCP (Special Cell) Ingit Pratap Singh had stated, “Keeping in view the controversy and recent violent protests over the Prophet Muhammad issue, and Al-Qaeda’s threat of suicide attacks in India, police staff should be instructed to develop intelligence inputs to thwart any militant attack/plan. The Special Cell staff will randomly infiltrate and plant dummy IEDs at places with high footfall in each district to check the alertness of local police staff.”
The officials said the staff of the Special Cell will randomly “plant” the dummy improvised explosive devices at high footfall areas in each of the 15 districts. As soon as the district police detects the dummy IED, regular protocol of handling such a situation like cordoning off the area, using sandbags for buttressing, and calling the bomb disposal team must be followed, they said at the time.
The officials said high footfall areas should be patrolled, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed there monitored regularly.
On January 14 this year, an unattended bag containing an IED was found at Ghazipur flower market. The officials from Special Cell, National Security Guard’s(NSG) bomb detection and disposal team and fire tenders reached the spot and the device was diffused.