Set up in 2000, the NBDC has used its limited resources at hand wisely. Placed under the National Security Guards (NSG), it became the repository for all bomb-making and disposal data. Every year, it collates material on nearly 250 bomb blasts across the country, hoping to spot emerging trends, new designs and "fingerprint" the bomb-makers.
"We don't have the expertise to track the actual bomb-maker yet," says Ahooja, "but we can broadly identify the organisation that is behind a blast." From studying printed circuit boards to detonators, trigger mechanisms, fuses, and battery cells, the NBDC has tried to build up a databank that is on the frontline of India's efforts to combat terrorism. Armed with information on 8,848 blasts since 2000, it is trying to crack the bomb-maker's code. For years they have been tracking trends, some discernible, some confusing and some ominous. Here are a few:
- From 2004 the number of bomb blasts have gone down but the number of casualties has gone up; that is, the intensity of the blasts have increased.
- From the crude IEDs of the early 1990s, bombs have become more sophisticated with intricate trigger mechanisms such as radio or remote control, with time-delay features.
- While the early '90s saw a flush of weapons-grade explosives, indicating active support from across the border, the new trend is to procure locally available material.
- The quantity of explosives used in cities is much less than the ones in rural areas. High population density in cities makes explosions more devastating.
- The trigger mechanism for bombs for assassinating prominent leaders are far more sophisticated than the ones aimed at causing mass casualties.