Over 60 schools in and around Bengaluru receive bomb threat, students evacuated safely
Bengaluru: Sixty-eight private schools in and around the city on Friday received emails warning of bomb threat on their premises, triggering panic among the staff and parents, police said.
The school authorities immediately alerted police, who reached the institutions concerned with the bomb disposal squads and anti-sabotage check teams, they said, while indicating the bomb threat could be a hoax.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he has asked police to seriously investigate the e-mail and its source, and provide adequate security to schools and temples as a precautionary measure.
State Home Minister G Parameshwara said the message had come from an email id “[email protected],” saying bombs have been placed in the schools in Bengaluru and threatened to kill children and staff.
“We are seriously verifying it and its source. I have spoken to the Commissioner and officials and have given the necessary instructions and verification on whether it is true or hoax and measures to be taken accordingly. We will verify as to who is behind it and if there is an involvement of any terrorist organisation, and take measures accordingly. For now, it cannot be said who is behind it. The message in the email asks people to convert and other things–it will be verified,” he told reporters.
Among 68 schools which received the bomb threat, 48 of them are located within the city while the rest are in Bengaluru Rural limits, police added.
The students and staff were immediately evacuated from the school premises, police said, adding no suspicious objects were found yet and prima facie, it looks like a hoax message.
City Police Commissioner B Dayananda said bomb detection and disposal squads were sent to all these schools, and most likely it seemed to be a hoax.
“Earlier also similar threat letters and emails had come to schools and they were found to be a hoax for mischief and police had identified those behind it. Police are verifying today’s mails too…officials and personnel have gone to all these spots. I appeal to people not to worry, as most likely all these are hoax calls (mails),” he said.
Another senior officer said the police teams have not found any suspicious objects on any of the school premises. “Prime facie, it appears to be a hoax message. We are also in the process of registering a case in this regard and a thorough investigation is underway.”
Students had already reached schools when they got to know about the email threat. Panic-stricken parents rushed from their respective offices and homes to get their children back home safely. Some of these students from different schools which received bomb threats said they had exams scheduled for the day.
CM Siddaramaiah said, “I have spoken to police officers and I have instructed them to take adequate security measures at all places, to remain cautious, and to find out those behind it.”
“There is no need for anyone to worry. I have asked security to be tightened, and checks to be conducted at schools which have received threats,” he added.
Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar visited one of the schools which received the bomb threat. He enquired about the situation from the school authorities and the police.
“I was a bit dismayed after seeing the news on TV, as some schools I know and the one near my house were also mentioned. So I went out to check. The police have shown me the e-mail. Prima facie, it appears to be fake (hoax). I spoke to the police…but we should be cautious.Parents are a bit worried, no need to worry. Police are looking into it,” he said.
He appealed to parents not to worry and said their children would be safe. “Some mischief mongers might have done this, in 24 hours we will nab them. Cyber crime police are active; they are doing their job…we should also be cautious,” he added.
The home minister also pointed about a similar threat last year turning out to be a hoax.
“This also may be a hoax, but we won’t take it lightly. Even if there is one per cent (doubt), we will take it seriously and take measures like sensitising the intelligence and informing central agencies, which the department has to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Opposition slammed the government over the matter, alleging there was deterioration of law and order in the state.
The BJP and JD(S) alleged lack of fear about police among anti-social elements.
“Anti social forces in the state have no fear of police. As a result, miscreants have fearlessly tried to create an atmosphere of fear by spreading the message that bombs have been placed at some schools in Bengaluru,” state BJP President B Y Vijayendra said.
However, this case cannot be treated lightly as a hoax as schools have been targeted, he said, adding serious investigation and precaution should be the priority of the government.
“In order to provide protection to every school in the state and to create a worry-free environment for students, teachers and parents, I urge for a comprehensive investigation of this case and necessary immediate action,” he said in a post on ‘X’.
With such incidents, certain vested interests were able to create an atmosphere of fear or panic among people, state JD(S) chief and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said.
After the Congress came to power, the law and order situation has deteriorated in the state and there is a lack of confidence among the people about their safety.
The government has to take this threat e-mail seriously and immediately bring the truth out, he added.