There was closure for the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being sentenced to death. While the United States of America has a zero tolerance policy towards terrorism, it is also important to note here that there is cue India could take out of this case.
While it was said that Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev had leanings towards Islamic preachings and the happenings in Afghanistan and Iraq had influenced this attack, the investigators stuck to the job and chased down the culprit instead of trying to ascertain which group they belonged to.
This is a very important lesson especially for the police officials in India who are probing cases of terror. Anytime there is an act of terror in India, the media and the police is more interested in which outfit did it rather than the person who did it.
Identifying the bomber
What is commendable in this investigation is that the Boston Marathon bombings occurred in the year 2013 and by 2015 the probe was completed and the sentence delivered. This was not an easy case by any standards and with the accused using a home made bomb, the investigation becomes even more harder.
The accused had used two pressure cooker bombs in which 3 were killed and over 200 injured.
The FBI which took over the probe released images of the two bombers which was picked up from the CCTV footage.
The first task was to identify the bomber and not ponder over whether the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban sent them. While Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been killed at the spot, his brother Dzhokhar managed to escape in a stolen SUV.
Tracking the bomber
The FBI had a put a face on the bomber. The immediate next step was to deploy over a 1000 officials to hunt down this bomber. All through the focus was finding the bomber and not once did any of the officials try and link him with any outfit.
Intelligence on the movement of the bomber was being picked up and a large force had been positioned at the 20-block area of Watertown.
Once the officer were at Watertown, they relied on human intelligence. Information from the residents was sought and for the day all the public transport system had come to a halt. The entire area wore a deserted look and residents were asked to stay indoors. This in fact helped the FBI as the bomber had to stay put and could not flee.
Finally in the evening they found the bomber hiding in a boat in the backyard of his home. The FBI had used thermal imaging to find the location of the bomber and this ensured that they had their man.
Investigations were specific
All through the investigations the FBI stuck to their task. There were no diversions and although mandatory questions were being asked about the outfits he could possibly be part of, more emphasis was laid on why he carried out the bombing.
The bomber told the FBI that he was inspired by the preachings of Jihad and felt sorry for the people in Afghanistan and Iraq which was ruined by the Americans.
On the other hand the FBI was also detailing his past and also the possible persons he could have been in touch with. However it was found that he was a lone wolf and the operation was undertaken with the help of his brother.
What Indian police officers can learn
We have seen a couple of blasts in the recent past. Till date there is no closure be it in the Chennai train or the Churchstreet blasts. After the blast, the police were busy trying to find out whether it was the SIMI or the Al-Umma that carried out the blast.
While the CCTV images were sourced, it appeared hazy and no real attempt was made to put a face on the bomber. Such acts give the bomber ample time to flee from the spot and then disappear into nowhere.
In all this they lose track of the bomber himself and then the police get back to the basics. They go to various places where SIMI operatives are lodged in jail and then undertake a question and answer session. "We are studying the pattern they say."
In reality there is no pattern and the police are always questioning a man who has been arrested two years before the incident in question has occurred.
The NIA delay
In the Boston case, it was the FBI which led the way. They are the premier investigating agency in America. When the bombing occurred it was clear that it would be the FBI which will investigate the case. There was no Lalu, Nitish or Mamta opposing the probe.
In India it takes almost 15 days before the NIA comes into the scene. When the NIA tries coming into the picture, the state governments are quick to block them. Then after much mud slinging and allegations, the NIA is finally roped in.
It is too late by then. The bomber would have had 15 days time to run away and about the evidence on the spot? The less said the better.