The growing number of bomb hoax calls last year has alarmed the city police. Reason: the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) has received 99 such calls in 2012. It is the highest for the squad in a single year over the last five years.
Speaking to DNA, senior police inspector MS Shinde of BDDS said, “We have received the highest number of calls last year. The rise is due to increased awareness among the people.”
The hoax calls increased considerably after the murder of Qateel Siddiqui, an alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative, at Yerawada jail in June last year.
Considering this rise, the BDDS has started conducting a series of lectures at colleges to create more awareness among the students in the city. During such lectures, the BDDS staff is also giving instructions to people about dos and don’ts to be followed under such situations.
Shinde said, “We have formed a special team for giving lectures at colleges. So far, we have conducted lectures in over 35 college in the city. Besides, we have also started conducting special lectures at IT firms. During Ganesh festival, we gave special training to 5,000 college students on spotting bombs.”
According to the BDDS record, 45 bomb hoax calls were received in 2011.
Sources said that the city police is taking no chances as similar hoax calls were made to the Mumbai police control room for quite some time before the serial blasts there in July 2011. The callers used to tell the control room that unexploded bombs have been found in different areas of the state capital.
Police sources said that terrorists might be using this modus operandi to check the alertness of Pune police and other intelligence agencies before striking in the city.