A junior from engineering called me up in the evening yesterday to tell me that his synopsis on density controlled traffic signals was rejected in the project review panel. I just coldly said, “Bro, it has been ages since that stuff is in, no wonder they rejected it. I was just thinking from an engineer’s point of view, and I was right. Piezoelectric crystal strip on the road to switch on and off a street light is a very old concept and anyone would reject it. And that’s when he said about his next paper in hand. It was about detection of IED’s, and he didn’t want to implement it because of practical cost issues and inability to bring together the resources required for the project under one portable device with the low cost required for an engineering project. For all those who are wondering what an IED is, it’s an abbreviation for improvised explosive device. These devices are logically a different set of explosives than the conventional weapon system used in combats. Primary aim being to kill, and specifically to increase the kill rate. Well to be more general and reader friendly, it could be explained as an explosive in the breastplate of a suicide bomber or an explosive in toothpaste can, or an explosive fastened to the collar of your shirt or a horse’s stomach. Ever since the USA went to war with Vietnam these devices have gained importance and have been a part of military warfare, but, what’s more, concerning is the use of these devices in civilian society by terrorist groups and other mercenaries. And my junior’s project, if implemented, would detect non-metallic explosives. It had a mechanism which would transmit radio waves and the reflection would be caught on an absorber, and based on the peaks of absorption the material would be detected to know what the person actually had his shirt or inside his bag. Well if it’s becoming tough to follow let me just explain you a situation.
Imagine you are waiting in a bus stand, there are say 1000 people around you, it’s a hell lot crowded and a terrorist enters in with an IED. He uses plastic explosives, may be RDX (Research department explosive) and PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) or C-4 (composition explosive) all these when hidden inside a plastic or leather jacket don’t get recognized by a metal detector. And he can easily come in blast himself along with you and other people around! More like what is happening in Iraq and Syria. Am I clear now? Check Wiki for more info about IED and usage and also about what are its constituents. How are you going to avoid it??
All this was too much for me to think and I decided to just forget it, well a project implementation was his problem. Why should I be worried? I just gave him the numbers of two or three consultancies and said him, don’t worry buddy these guys will get you a feasible engineering project done! That was enough all he wanted, and he thanked me and hooked up the call. I decided to head out for an evening walk and to explore the new place, ah forgot to tell you, I shifted my room. But this explosive thing wasn’t running out of my mind. The actual problem started when I sat seeing what was happening in front of me. I had walked for over a kilometer and had decided to just sit on a roadside bench. It was almost 6. And Bangalore was getting busy, the streets were getting filled up, traffic piling up, a long queue of vehicles in roads, (Ask someone about Silk board, tin factory and ITPL. They are distinctly known for a simple reason, TRAFFIC) pedestrians, roadside shopkeepers, evening markets, and snack trolleys. This is the case with every metropolitan city of the country. There are people everywhere and crowd everywhere. This is the developing India!! Badal raha hain mera India. But is this transforming India acting as a honeymoon destination for terror attacks, is it acting like an experimental playground for terrorists? Well, let me be realistic! It is!! I am extremely sad to say this, we have security at airports, we have metal detectors in malls, but we are prone to attacks everywhere else!! Ok you don’t believe me?? Check out the places around you; check out your everyday routine!! You will be a potential target at least 10 times in a day.
All that a terrorist needs are simple
• He needs explosives!! Thanks to worldwide link of terrorist networks, and internet coaching classes, it’s easier to manufacture an explosive than baking a pizza!!
• He needs an operational area, well shopping malls, business centers, buses, schools, markets, hospitals and some more EASY TARGETS.
• He needs to bypass security threats; well India makes his work easy! We have police with a Lati in hand or an old double barrel rifle with no guarantee that it will fire. And at times switched off or under repair metal detectors.
Well, it’s just everything that a terrorist would want. If I was one, I would enjoy bombing around. Remember you needn’t have a full-fledged army to bring down a nation; just these small things co- ordinated together can do it. Technology in the hands of bad people is worse than anything else. A psychopath chemical engineer or a chain of sick guys can bring down a system. Just imagine a coordinated attack, send in some 50 suicide bombers into a city, and send them to hospitals, schools, offices, bus stands, train stations, gas stations and just trigger explosions in a daisy chain!! You can bring down the economy in no time; you can create fear in the minds of people, panic in the society and more concerning of all, Kill thousands of innocent people!! Remember the Mumbai blasts of 1993! How far have we moved, how much have we improved in 22 years from then? Not even a few steps.
ISIS has declared a jihadi war against India, It’s a matter of existence and supremacy for them.Al –Qaeda is also behind us, Then there are these POK terrorist groups, the Naxals, and many more who just want to create havoc in the society, and we sleep without tension in the night, without a bit of worry about tomorrow, but remember we all are gambling with our lives, we don’t have a technology or a system which could prevent a bomb from going off in a market, bus stand or a train station, there is no guarantee that a person who went out of the house surely will come back without being wrapped in a white cloth, there is no guarantee for our lives .
Don’t we have a solution!! We do!! We just haven’t thought of implementing it, that’s it, remember what happened 14 years ago to the twin Towers of USA!! Almost 1600 people died in the tragic incident, but more importantly in 14 years from then, there hasn’t been one terrorist attack on the USA!! You think there haven’t been plans?? You think terrorists became emotional and soft-hearted!! Not one bit!! The USA used technology!! The USA used science. They have three agencies CIA, NSA, FBI and maybe a countless number of unknown investigation agencies which have nullified all possible terrorist attacks in 13 years. I am not trying to say they are completely good people, but they have done something good, Yeah we are mad that NSA spies into all our emails, Maybe they will even read this article because their search engine will register Multiple quotations about The three names being used again and again, and when you read it the clicks on their names will also increase, but yeah!! I am ok with someone reading my conversation with my girlfriend if he can actually prevent her from dying in a roadside bomb blast.
We need to develop and design a plan, it’s possible and it’s feasible as well. All that we need to do is to have a technically good mind, and a desire to do it. Single or multiple entries and exists to train and bus stations, and every entry and exit having detectors for explosives, buses fitted with detectors, A well-organized intelligence department, and well-equipped police force and paramilitary. Disaster management systems, people with knowledge of what is to be done when the panic button is pressed, and a better spying agency could take us a long way in preventing and handling possible terror attacks.
It is possible if government walks hand in hand with technological development and with R&D. A saying goes like this “ THE MORE YOU SWEAT IN PEACE, THE LESS YOU BLEED IN WAR”, a very good sentence, We can mourn once a full-fledged attack takes place, we can cry after losing our loved ones, We can blame the system once we are hit! Or we can think now, work now, and bring a technology which handles all these minute things and make a difference. Always prevention is better than cure. A network of like-minded people and technology and government can actually take us light years ahead in fighting terrorism.