Checking out live improvised explosive devices is not an easy task. “It needs a lot of courage, disciple, training and perfection. People’s lives are at risk,” says sub-inspector Jasbir Singh. He is posted with the bomb squad of the crime branch of Delhi Police.
When a bomb squad team gets a call about a suspicious object that “looks like a bomb”, its members rush to the spot. And till the time the object is not verified, they take it to be a live bomb.
During their early days with the squad, their hands would tremble, they would sweat and they would be scared. But gradually, after a few encounters, bomb squad members overcome fear.
“During the initial days, despite taking all precautionary measures, we used to get scared at the spot. We are also human beings. But over time, we have got used to it,” says Singh.
Under the guidance of the army and National Security Guard veterans, police officials learn to defuse bombs and operate bomb disposal robots. Head constable Tej Vir Singh says during training, they were conscious of the fact that they were dealing with dummy bombs. “But when you get into a real situation, it is a totally different thing,” he says.
Other team members say the best thing about training is that one can make a mistake and walk away. But in a real-life situation it is different. “You can’t make mistakes,” he reminds.
“You never know what is hidden or what is the bomb composition with bare eyes. One has to deal with it and there is only a limited time frame,” says Singh about real-life situations.
Most of the time highly trained sniffer dogs identify the suspicious object and the bomb disposal team then works on it with remotely operated vehicles and other equipment.
“Truly speaking, no bomb disposal squad has had to use bare hands even once to defuse bombs. If an improvised explosive device is detected, we use various gadgets to defuse or dispose it,” says inspector Kuldeep Malik, who heads the crime branch bomb disposal squad.
He says the job is not as glamorous as it is depicted. “You will only have one take in real life and there is no second chance,” says Singh.
Squad members say it their duty, and they have to perform it whether they like it or not. But being in Delhi Police bomb squad does make them feel proud at times.
They have their grievances and demand more attention from the government.
“Our lives are at risk when we are in the forefront. The lawmakers should at least give us a risk allowance, which bomb squad teams in other security agencies get. It will motivate us a lot.”
Whatever their grouses, they believe in their job. And they believe that people serving with the bomb squads of the Indian Army and National Security Guard are at par with those in any agency in the world.