At least 15 schools in Bengaluru received a bomb threat via emails on Friday, said the police. A senior police officer privy to the development said that the threat prima facie appears to be a hoax as the bomb detection squads did not find any explosives during the search operations.Bengaluru police conducted searches in at least six schools.
“Many other schools in and around Bengaluru realised that they had received similar mails after the news of the threat became public,” said the police official quoted above. Reacting to the news, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the calls were a conspiracy to disturb the peace in the state.
“Karnataka is a progressive state and some elements are repeatedly trying to tarnish this image. Police officials have been instructed to consider these cases seriously,” Bommai said.
Police said that the emails began arriving around 11 am. While the origin of the mail is suspected to be the US, police said the complete details will be available only after the investigation.
“We have written to Google since their platform was used for sending these mails. We will get more information when they respond,” said additional commissioner of police (Bengaluru, East) Subramanyeshwara Rao.
“The mail was sent multiple times to the schools on the email ids available on their website. Some schools received as many as 140 emails and all the mails had similar content,” said a police officer.
The content in the mail read: “A very powerful bomb has been planted in your school, attention is not a joke, this is not a joke, a very powerful bomb has been planted in your school, immediately call the police and sappers, hundreds of lives may suffer, including yours, do not delay, now everything is only in your hands! [sic].”
A student from St Vincent Pallotti School, Hennur, shared that they were asked to evacuate the premises during their lunch break. “We didn’t know what was happening. We were asked to leave the schools premises at the earliest,” she said.
Seeing media reports, several parents rushed to see their wards. “As soon as I heard about the bomb threat, I rushed to pick up my daughter from school. We have no clarity on what is happening,” he told media persons.
Delhi Public School (Bengaluru East) principal Manila Carvalho said after receiving the mail, the parents were informed immediately and the classes were suspended. “A few parents were already present on the premises as they had come for admission, and to drop off their children for summer camps. We did not disclose about the threat but evacuated the building immediately,” she said.
Associated Managements of Private Schools in Karnataka, general secretary, D Shashikumar said that a few schools which were conducting annual exams had to face disruption.
Meanwhile, the chief minister said that the police have been asked to do a thorough check. Bommai said the accused behind the threat calls will be traced and arrested. “Effective security and investigation measures will be carried out.The parents should not feel anxious as there is no cause for worry as far as security at schools is concerned,” Bommai said.