INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR--PAPER NO. 640
Unidentified elements had planted three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) of low sophistication outside a stadium in Bangalore where an IPL cricket match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers, Bangalore, was played on the afternoon of April 17,2010 All the three IEDs would appear to have been planted in the open space outside the stadium after the anti-explosive sanitisation of the inside of the stadium as well as outside had been done thrice by the police.
2. Two of the IEDs exploded before the match was to start. According to some reports, they had been timed to explode after the start of the match, but both exploded prematurely. These reports do not carry adequate conviction because when an IED is planted outside a stadium it is timed to explode as the people are entering the stadium before the start of the match in order to cause casualties and panic. The fact that all the IEDs were planted outside the stadium would indicate that the perpetrators had timed them to explode as the spectators were entering the stadium and not after they had entered. While two of the IEDs exploded near two of the entrances, the the third failed to explode and was detected and defused.
3. It is likely that the IEDs were planted after the third anti-exoposive sanitisation of the day had been completed. This would indicate the possibility that the perpetrators had mingled with the spectators gathering outside before entering the stadium and evaded being noticed by the police as they planted the IEDs. The police would appear to have been confident of the effectiveness of the sanitisation inside the stadium. Moreover, all the spectators and others entering the stadium had to pass through IED detectors at the gates in order to prevent IEDs being smuggled in. The police were so confident that nobody would be able to smuggle in an IED inside the sanitised stadium that they allowed the match to go ahead as scheduled after a delay of one hour during which they did another sanitisation.
4. Sanitisation inside an enclosed space like a hall or a room or even a stadium can be effective, but there are problems in maintaining the effective state of sanitisation in an open space outside a hall or a room or a stadium. The terrorists had taken advantage of this to plant the IEDs unnoticed after the third sanitisation had been completed. The need for a tighter watch on people gathering outside the stadium after the final sanitisation has been done has to be kept in view during the remaining IPL matches. This would require much larger manpower. The Government should make this available to the police.
5. The two explosions injured 17 persons--- nine of them policemen. It would be unwise to presume that the perpetrators did not want to cause fatalities and that they wanted to cause only nervousness and panic among the foreign players and officials participating in the IPL tournament. The low casualties could be attributed to the lack of powerful explosive material with the terrorists and their inadequate expertise in assembling the devices.
6. Local Muslims belonging to the Indian Mujahideen ought to be the primary suspects. The IM had carried out serial explosions in Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi in 2007-08 and tried unsuccessfully to carry out explosions in Surat. While the explosions were quite lethal in UP, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi, they were not that lethal in Bangalore and Surat due to the inadequate assembling expertise of the perpetrators at these two places. This would indicate that the IM has well-trained experts in IEDs as well as untrained or inadequately trained perpetrators. Like the Bangalore blasts of July,2008, those of April 17,2010, would appear to have been carried out by inadequately trained perpetrators----most probably locals. ( 18-4-2010)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )