In order to illustrate what has changed since 26/11, Outlook has created a hypothetical scenario to understand the most glaring gaps. The NSG has its game in place, but the police don’t come out very pretty in this picture of a hypothetical attack on a business park-cum-food hub in Gurgaon, Haryana, visited by more than a lakh people every day. Weekend nights are pretty busy in the open area food hub.
Between 9:00 pm and 9:10 pm
- Attackers, in small groups, enter through multiple access points, manned by unarmed private guards
- Some groups of the attackers move into the area with diners and start firing indiscriminately; some of them move towards those working night shifts in nearby offices to take hostages
- Video analytics-enabled CCTV cameras pick up footage of people firing indiscriminately and raise alarm. So do surviving guards.
- Security calls 100 and informs local police officer; puts buildings under lockdown
- Police officer alerts quick response team (QRT), constables in checkpost outside centre
- Checkpost constables arrive at the scene; situation is assessed, escalated
After 9:10 pm
- Ideally, QRT should be on the scene within 15 minutes
- Haryana does not have a proper anti-terror commando unit yet (it was announced in October). They have to call for backup from Delhi ATS, at least 30 minutes away depending on traffic.
- Local police teams have to secure and barricade the area and divert traffic away
- Swift notification to the NSG will activate ‘alert squadron’ in Palam within 15 minutes and they will rappel down from choppers on to the ground by 9:30 pm
- At 10:00 pm, second force will arrive from Manesar
- At regular intervals, more forces will arrive from the other hubs (with enough reserves remaining)
- NSG ops include complete recon of the area to understand the threat, hostage situation, help clear the injured, and neutralise the terror threat with minimum casualties. They have already kept data (3D image etc) of these places handy for imminent threat.
- Gurgaon is well-covered by the NSG; other towns may not be that lucky
What To Do
If You Are Under Attack
It is difficult to prepare oneself for a real-life terror attack, but here are some useful tips, based on suggestions from Angelie Quattra, whose NGO regularly conducts workshops for the common man on disaster preparedness
- Try and take training on how to face gunshots
- Run in a zigzag manner instead of a straight line to confuse shooter and prevent being a sitting duck target
- To escape the weapon’s range, roll or crawl if you can’t run—it is difficult to shoot a person not standing
- Hide in shelter that will protect head and chest, where wounds can be fatal
- Don’t try to take out the bullet yourself. Wait till a doctor removes it.
- Try to stem blood loss. More than a litre blood loss can cause shock and stall vital organs.
- Apply pressure on the wound or raise it above the heart level
- If you tie a bandage, do not remove it till you are in the hospital
- Backbone fractures can be critical; they can cut nerves
- Take the injured person in a sitting position to the hospital
- Cover eyes, ears, heads and other external organs that may get ruptured
- It could be a serial blast, curl up to protect these external organs
- Protect yourself from the fire following the blast. Cool burns with water and cover with as clean a cloth as possible.
- Treat other injuries caused by shrapnel and projectiles from blast
- Detection by vigilance: Major signs include eye/skin irritation; birds and insects might be dying or falling dead
- Decontaminate: Go to a sheltered place, seal doors and windows, put off exhausts and ACs, go to a safer room
- Remove chemical-exposed clothes with minimal contact with body
- Roll and seal in plastic bag
- Wash the exposed parts of body first with running water