Bomb hoax leaves children fearful - and in tears

July 30th, 2008 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  


Mehsana (Gujarat), July 30 (IANS) Ahmedabad was targeted with serial blasts that killed 50 and so was Surat where 22 live bombs were defused. But terror spread its tentacles in other places in Gujarat too — like a school here where a bomb hoax call led to panic and scared tears from both children and teachers. The English medium Sarvajanik School in Mehsana, about 70 km from Gujarat’s main city Ahmedabad, has been closed till Thursday following the scare.

On Tuesday morning, the phone rang and a man’s voice said in Hindi: “A bomb has been planted in Sarvajanik School, Mehsana”. A child’s voice was heard saying “hello’ immediately after that and then the phone went dead.

“Was it a hoax call or something sinister we don’t know,” said principal Nila Shah of the school, which has 1,500 students.

What she does know is that it came just two days after the Ahmedabad serial bombings that killed 50 people, and even as live bombs were being defused in Surat.

The fear factor came into play immediately.

While she hurriedly contacted the trustees and police rushed to the spot, along with panic-stricken parents, many children burst into tears.

Parents were seen on the road shouting frantically that a bomb could exploded inside. Students were rushed out into the open ground.

A teacher of the school who had just returned from Ahmedabad was so overwhelmed that he too started crying — further fuelling fears.

Police had a tough time controlling the situation and bringing about a semblance of sanity.

“Despite our intensive search we could not find any thing that sounded sinister. The call seemed to be a hoax. Police patrolling has been intensified in the town to ensure a sense of security among the people particularly at a time when the state is reeling under the shock of the serial blasts,” said District Superintendent of Police Raju Bhargawa.

While efforts are on to trace the anonymous caller, other educational institutions in the town say few students are turning up for classes with parents still scared of sending their children.

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