Opinion from the ground: Pune was a message

Arrived in Pune a couple of hours ago. Pune police commissioner has tried to apply the balm and declared these explosions to be more of a prank than anything else, certainly not a terror attack. But, in my humble opinion, it somehow just doesn’t add up.

Completed a short study of the sites where the explosions took place. Some of the early observations. Here they go:

1. There are two ways to look at this. Either the perpetrators ended up proving to us how they still retain their ability to strike, irrespective of whatever law enforcement agencies may achieve. Or they ended up proving that those running the show today are greenhorns who just messed up an opportunity.

2. The latter, in my opinion, doesn’t hold much value as the manner of coordination (remember these were successive blasts), camouflage (in bags, cycles & garbage bins) and ability to plant them stealthily in the middle of a bustling part of the city deserves due recognition.

3. At all locations I toured, if one was to minus police presence and the cordoning done, it will be impossible to determine if a bomb ever exploded there. Not even a window pane around the blast site has been shattered. In fact, a Dena bank ATM immediately outside of which one of the bombs went off, was functioning perfectly fine when I saw it! Cycles which carried the bombs look brand new (despite the explosions). It shows the uniformity and overall control the perpetrators had over their subject.

4. Unlike the blasts of 1993 in Mumbai or 2006 in Malegaon, where the accused were traced out by the vehicles which were used in the act, the perpetrators have relied here on a bag, garbage bin and two brand new bicycles. So that barring whatever the CCTV may capture, there is little to link anyone to it..

5. Perhaps acknowledging the futility of hacing wifi accounts and the growing finesse of law enforcement agencies in cracking emails, the perpetrators have chosen silence as againt gory, preachy & vengeful emails. Seemingly, they have let their actions speak. Can’t help but think that a group of ‘pranksters’ would not have kept quiet as veterans can.

6. The newly-appointed state Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjeev Dayal accompanied by Anti-Terror Squad chief Rakesh Maria toured the spots post 1am. By the virtue of being there, I saw how they both had more to ask than say. In fact at many a times, and despite consistently showing their backs to the media for conversing among each other, the two senior officers did indicate that they too were in for surprises once they saw things first hand.

7. Lastly, if one studies the blast outside Delhi High Court of last year there was a similar smaller blast a few months in advance at a similar location of lesser magnitude. May be there is a precedent that needs an examination here.

8. Seeing all this, can’t help but think the perpetrators could have achieved more but just didn’t want to. And whatever be their reason, who can argue that to keep their terror factory alive, killing is not always important as long as they can scare effectively.

9. Ofcourse I want to feel as comfortable as the Pune commissioner wants me to, thinking of it all as a prank. But even assuming it is so, I hope, and want, the commissioner to revert soon.

Will await your feedback.


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