48 schools in Bengaluru receive bomb threat, students evacuated

The students and staff were immediately evacuated from the school premises, police said, adding no suspicious objects have been found yet and prima facie, it looks like it's a hoax message.

Bengaluru: Forty-eight private schools in Bengaluru on Friday morning received an email with a bomb threat on its premises, triggering panic among the staff and parents, police said.

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The school authorities immediately alerted police, who reached the institutions concerned with the bomb disposal squads and anti-sabotage check teams, they said.

The students and staff were immediately evacuated from the school premises, police said, adding no suspicious objects have been found yet and prima facie, it looks like it’s a hoax message.

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“So far, 48 schools in Bengaluru have received an email about bomb threat. The message about a bomb threat was received from an email id. Search operations are almost over and so far, our 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,” a senior police officer said.

Students had already reached schools when they got to know about the email threat. Parents rushed to schools from their respective offices and homes in panic 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.

“The email claimed that explosives had been planted on school premises. We received a call from the command centre and immediately rushed our teams to schools which are located in different parts of the city. All students and staff have been safely evacuated from the school premises and a thorough search operation was carried out,” another senior officer said.

Parents need not panic, our teams are on the ground, he said.

Earlier in the day, City Police Commissioner B Dayananda said, some schools in Bengaluru received threat emails. 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.

Last year also, some miscreants sent such emails claiming about a bomb threat to schools in Bengaluru, which later turned out to be a hoax message, police said.

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.

“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 took information from the school and the police about the situation. “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 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. Shivakumar 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 and should not neglect,” he added.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara said the message had come from email id kharijites@beeble.com. The email says bombs have been placed in about 15 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’s true or hoax and measures to be taken accordingly.

“We will verify as to who is behind it and if there is the 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 here.

The home minister recalled that last year, too, a similar threat had come. It was 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.

Stating that he is in regular touch with officials and, if necessary, will hold a meeting with senior officials, Parameshwara appealed to parents and the public not to worry. “First we will focus on checking and clearing in 15 schools, and will look into other schools later with jurisdiction police station officials visiting them,” he added.

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