Hoax bomb threat sends city cops into a tizzy

Nov 03, 2011, 06:36 IST | Yacoob Mohammed

The Central Division Police and security officials cordoned off the area around Karnataka High Court after the Registrar General's office at the Bangalore HC received an anonymous letter warning of a bomb on the premises yesterday. Threat later turned out to be a hoax

The Registrar General's office at the Bangalore HC received a mysterious letter, warning of a bomb planted on its premises in the wee hours of the morning yesterday.

Police personnel use sniffer dog squads to ensure that the bomb
threat outside the Karnataka High Court was neutralised yesterday

Following the anonymous letter, the Central Division Police and security officials swung into action by cordoning off the area and started conducting intensive checks. The threat, later, turned out to be a hoax.

Lawyers, who had to bear the brunt of the sudden uptight security, are now blaming the police department for the lack of methodical dealing with such a situation.

On high alert
At around 10 am, with the HC secured, the city police received a tip off about a terrorist attack in the city. Security forces were quickly deployed at all important installations in the city.

Soon after that, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) issued a warning to the officials in Delhi, informing them of possible terrorist attack in Bangalore and the HC was again placed on high alert.

Interestingly, the call came on the same day that former CM Yeddyurappa's bail plea was to be heard at the HC and a huge crowd of supporters and curious citizens were expected.

The security arrangements, however, not only had a fully equipped squad conducting checks in every nook and corner of the court, but also finger print experts and sniffer dogs were involved in frisking visitors in the premises.

Lawyers bore the brunt of a hoax letter at the HC yesterday,
had to go through intense frisking by the cops

The initial security check lasted for around three hours and the police issued a statement claiming that no threat had been detected. The security personnel, however, were jittery throughout the day, even though the tainted former CM's hearing ended at about 2 pm.

Initially, upon noticing the increased security at the HC, lawyers were expecting the worst. But they were later informed about the letter and the threat. "We come to court at 10:30 am everyday; today we were scared when we saw so many policemen checking the premises.

We heard that the court office had received an anonymous warning of a bomb threat," said S Shankarappa, HC Advocate. He further added that the police department should first assert the nature of the call or letter and then create such a fear psychosis.

All districts alerted

The State police have alerted all the districts and important locations where public movement is high. They have further issued directions to officials at various tourist destinations about the same. "It is routine for our department.

When IB passed the warning to the national capital Delhi, We took cue from that and increased security all over the state.

With a bomb hoax at the High Court, the city police have handled the situation well and have ensured smooth and peaceful cooperation of work by dispatching the bomb squad, dog squad and finger print analysts," said Roop Kumar Dutta, Additional Director of Police, Law and Order, Karnataka.

The Central Division Police that first received the information about a bomb at the High Court ensured that the squad reached the court within 10 minutes.
The squad of eight members equipped with gadgets to diffuse bombs went around the Court, and the 3 sniffer dogs and finger print experts did the rest.

Official announcement was made at 12:30 pm about the call being a hoax. "We got information, that it was a prank. We are tracing the letter to its origin," said S G Ramesh DCP, Central Division.

Traffic worsened
Meanwhile, the traffic and law and order situation in and around the HC suffered as police personnel from all surrounding police stations were asked to rush to the epicenter of the alert.
Over 150 personnel were stationed at the HC from Sheshadripuram, Cubbon Park, Commercial Street, Shivaji Nagar, High Ground and even Varthur Police Stations, even as the well equipped Vidhana Soudha Police were already at the spot.

All the traffic leading to the HC from various directions had to be diverted, following the alert. Many constables had to work over time due to this hoax call and post the hearing and the elaborate checks; they were then deputed to their respective stations, to complete their shifts.

With the department already short staffed, such emergency situations are taking a toll on the officers too, who have to work even double shifts to manage the traffic and law and order situation in the city.

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