Bomb hoax in Delhi buildings, hospitals leads to panic


New Delhi : Panic gripped the national capital Tuesday after an anonymous caller threatened to blow up four crowded places – the Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, the Palika Kendra and Vikas Minar. The call turned out to be a hoax, but led to chaos and traffic jams, police said.

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“The police control room received the first call at around 10 a.m. The unidentified caller claimed that bombs have been planted at RML Hospital, the high rise Palika Kendra and Vikas Minar. Within a minute, a second call came and the caller said that the bomb has been placed in Safdarjung Hospital, not in RML,” a senior police officer said.

“Policemen were immediately pressed into service for combing operations at these places. Bomb disposal squads and sniffer dog squads were also pressed into service. Ambulances and fire brigade were also on standby,” the officer added.

The Safdarjung Hospital in south Delhi was also evacuated for checking.

“At around 10.30 a.m. I was in the OPD at Safdarjung hospital. We were asked to immediately go out of the hospital building as there was some call regarding a bomb,” said Rakesh Kumar, a patient who had come to the hospital.

“People at the OPD were asked to move out. Even though it caused inconvenience but such steps are necessary for ensuring safety of people at large,” an official at the Safdarjung hospital told IANS on condition of anonymity.

As hundreds of people suddenly came out of the building in panic, it caused a traffic jam outside the hospital.

“I was stuck at the place for nearly 20 minutes. There was a huge police presence and even the fire brigade was there,” said Abhishek Kumar, a commuter.

However, RML Hospital was not evacuated.

“The RML Hospital was not evacuated during the search operations,” N.K. Chaturvedi, medical superintendent of RML Hospital, told IANS.

Intensive searches were also carried out at Palika Kendra, headquarters of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on Parliament Street near Connaught Place, and at Vikas Minar, office of Delhi Development Authority (DDA), near ITO.

Thousands of employees who work at both the government offices were also asked to evacuate the buildings immediately.

“Police got a call in the morning and all precautions were taken. The building was evacuated,” NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari told IANS.

“It was a weekday and and that too morning time. Employees had just reached the office and following information from the police they were asked to vacate the building immediately,” said an NDMC official.

The police said it was just a prank call aimed at causing panic.

“It was probably a mischievous call just to spread panic. The identity of the caller has not been established yet. We are investigating the matter,” the police official said.