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What is a terror module?
Rediff News Bureau in Mumbai
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July 18, 2006 11:48 IST
Last Updated: July 29, 2008 11:42 IST

To understand the magnitude and significance of the July 11, 2006 serial blasts in Mumbai from a police angle, correspondents spoke to a senior police officer two years ago. Speaking on condition that he would not be identified for the report, this was his explanation of what a terror module is, which we believe has renewed resonance after last week's blasts in Bengaluru [Images] and Ahmedabad [Images]:

Tmost important member of any terror module is the bomb-maker.

He usually stays some place else, comes to a targeted city like Mumbai to assemble the devices and returns to his base the morning before or a day before the acts of terrorism happen.

He is much too valuable to the terrorists. Bomb making is only known to a few people and the terrorists cannot afford to lose him, which is why they protect him the most.

Who could the terrorists be?

The bomb-maker may or may not be known to other members of the module. If they know them, they would almost certainly not know his real name.

Gelatin sticks were used in the 2002-2003 blasts in Mumbai. They were sourced from a quarry in Hyderabad. In those cases, three to five kilos of gelatin sticks were covered with clothes, food and other things and put in duffel bags and left on buses and trains. Gelatin sticks are easily available.

The handler is the individual who runs the terror module. In most cases he is a Pakistani. He coordinates everything -- from deciding which group will carry out the act of terror to determining the targets. It has to be a small group. It cannot be 25 people, which increases the possibility of the plot being leaked out.

The handler could be a member of an organisation like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba or Jaish-e-Mohammad. He is in constant touch with his bosses in Pakistan. Members of the module may only know him under an assumed name.

The handler usually stays in a city different from the one that is being targeted. In the 2003 blasts in Mumbai, the city police discovered that the handler was based in Pune for three months and made two or three trips to Mumbai every month. He had been in India for three years, posing as a salesman and living in cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore.

The July 11, 2006 blasts were the first serial explosions in Mumbai since the ten bomb blasts of March 12, 1993. There have been other blasts since then, but they were not executed in such a precise manner. This module appears well coordinated. They must have conducted dry runs and on the day itself they must have moved the bags in quickly.

If we are lucky we won't have another incident within the next month. The terrorists have been unsuccessful in their objective of provoking communal riots. So they will try again and see if they succeed the next time. But no crime is perfect. These terrorists should remember that.

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