Days ahead of the Republic Day, fear and panic have the state of Uttar Pradesh firmly in their grips after at least six hoax bomb threats were reported from Noida, Ghaziabad, Allahabad and Kanpur this week.
The police have, so far, not been able to nail the people responsible for raising the false alarms that have led to the evacuation of malls, hospitals and theatres. Though, the police have filed FIR in connection with some of the cases.
On Friday, the bustling neighbourhood in Noida’s Sector 63 suddenly came to a standstill after a bomb-like device found on a road prompted the administration to deploy the forces and cordon off the area.
A bomb disposal squad was summoned by the administration which found that the suspicious-looking item placed on the road had no detonator or explosives attached to it. The item had a watch cinched around, giving an impression of a timer that is usually found with the bombs.
Hours before, Noida was rocked with another bomb scare when an unidentified person called a well-known hospital in Sector 27 and informed that a bomb was placed in its basement. The call touched off a wave of panic in the hospital and triggered a slapdash evacuation.
The Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Noida, Ranvijay Singh said that dog squad, bomb disposal squads, fire tenders and police personnel were rushed to the hospital and the premises were combed for any suspicious item. But, it turned out to be a hoax, he said.
Similarly, Ghaziabad was awash with panic and fear on Wednesday this week when an LPG cylinder with a watch-like device attached set off alarm bells ringing. The suspicious item was discovered at an empty plot in Madhuban Bapudham area by two police officials on patrol duty.
A bomb disposal squad was immediately sent to the place and found that it was not a bomb. However, an FIR has been filed against an unidentified person, Ghaziabad police officials informed.
A hoax bomb call on Friday kept the Prayagraj police on the jitters for more than two hours. A wave of relief was writ large on the faces of the police officials after they found no explosives at the civil lines located Vinayak City Center Mall and Katghar based Starwood complex after carrying out a comprehensive search operation.
The police had received the bomb threat on its Twitter account that explosives were planted at two prominent locations in the city. Soon after the police received the bomb threat on Twitter, teams of BDS (bomb defusal squad) and AS (anti-sabotage ) checking were deployed at both the sites.
However, the threat turned out to be a hoax call and the police have assured that legal action would be initiated against the persons who had provided with the fake information. Though, the miscreants are yet to be arrested.
Kanpur police were on Friday on high alert after a person posted a bomb hoax on Twitter, tagging city and police official handles. The threat which was posted on Friday afternoon said that a bomb would go off within minutes after the screening of the movie Madam Chief Minister in a multiplex at a Mall in Kanpur South, Gurudeo and Pammi theatres.
However, the police stated that the tweet was later removed by the user and a high alert was sounded at the Kanpur South, Gurudeo and Pammi theatres in Kalyanpur. The police carried out an extensive search at the three theatres and city’s crime branch, dog squad and bomb disposal squad was called in to search across locations.
But the search by the bomb disposal squad and sniffer dogs proved to be a futile exercise and the Twitter post was declared as a hoax. The police officer stated that strict action will be taken against the offender.
The police, along with the cyber cell, is now probing the matter. According to the police, the person who posted the hoax bomb threat was playing a prank. An FIR has been filed against the offender and investigations are underway to arrest the prankster.