The city has not learned lessons from the events of August 1, 2012. And if what happened in Bangalore yesterday is any indication, this may prove a costly mistake in the near future. These facts were borne out during a mock exercise conducted by Deccan-Gymkhana over the last few months.
Cops left ‘suspicious’ bags at various commercial establishments — including the McDonald’s outlet that was targeted in the serial blasts last year — expecting employees or customers to contact the police on spotting these. But the call never came.
Hong Kong Lane
Jagdale said that another test was carried out at the famous window-shopping destination, Hong Kong lane, which is renowned for offering cheap and affordable accessories. “The drill was observed on March 29 in the evening. But two youths working in shops in the area spotted the bag, opened it curiously, but did not contact cops.
One of the waiters, who noticed the bag lying unattended, picked it up sloppily and handed it over to the manager. “To check the alertness of staffers from some popular mercantile establishments in our jurisdiction regarding suspicious articles, our personnel — under the guidance of API Satish Jagdale — on March 3 this year, abandoned a laptop bag containing some newspapers, letters and some tin boxes inside the outlet at around 5.40 pm, when the eatery is flooded with people,” said senior inspector Manohar Joshi. He said that after abandoning the bag, the cops left the place and waited outside to observe the reactions of the eatery staff and customers.
“At around 6.20 pm, a conservancy worker named Omprakash Mishra spotted the bag, picked it up casually, enquired about it to the customers, and then handed it over to outlet manager Pradip Karpe who, without informing the police, kept it with him,” said Joshi. He added, “Last year on August 1, four low-intensity blasts took place on JM Road, one of which occurred in a dustbin kept right in front of the fast food shop. This shows that the staff was insensitive and negligent towards the directives and guidelines issued by us constantly over taking utmost care and being vigilant on finding suspicious items in pubic places.
” Deccan Gymkhana police then summoned the manager and sought an explanation. “Karpe told me that he thought the bag belonged to a customer, who forgot to take it with him and would be back to reclaim it,” added Joshi. After being reprimanded by cops, the eatery management admitted their error and promised to take utmost precaution in future. Speaking to MiD DAY, Karpe said that following the incident he has instructed his staff to inform the police or the management after coming across any suspicious items or persons, whether inside or outside the outlet. He said they have also installed CCTV cameras, one of which faces the road.
The famous Iranian restaurant on F C Road was the chosen destination on April 12. Here too the drill met with the same fate. Waiter Sandip Shinde picked up the bag and handed it over to the manager.
Jagdale said that the exercise had started on December 5, 2012. A bag containing sports shoes was abandoned inside the amusement park on the riverbed, which is frequented by children. Security guard R K Pande saw the bag, picked it up and gave it to manager Brijesh Kumar, who opened the bag just to check its contents. “We have prepared reports of all the exercises, which failed due to the gross negligence and lack of awareness of the public, and have submitted them to the higher authorities,” he said.
Security beefed up in city
Against the backdrop of the bomb blast near the BJP office in Bangalore yesterday morning, city police have intensified security arrangements in the city. Explosives kept on a motorbike went off at 10.30 am injuring 16 people including 11 policemen, near the political party’s office at Malleswaram. Joint Commissioner of Police (law and order) Sanjeev Kumar Singhal said, “We have received an alert from the agencies and accordingly security has been beefed up in the city. The agencies have alerted us after the blast which took place in Bangalore.”
He said that the security was also augmented in the wake of the conviction of German Bakery blast accused Himayat Baig, and the Additional Sessions Court is going to deliver the quantum of punishment. Deputy Commissioner of Police (special branch) M B Tambade said that the extra security has been deployed at sensitive places like Chabad House, Osho Ashram, Red Temple, Dagadusheth Temple, Shivajinagar Court, airport, railway stations, hospitals and educational institutes.
Additional Sessions Judge N P Dhote held Baig (31), a resident of Beed, guilty of murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and other offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosive Substances Act in the German Bakery blast case.