Students, parents in panic mode as 48 schools in Bengaluru receive hoax bomb threat via email

Cybercrime police stations are coordinating with each other to get to the source of the email with the bomb threat.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Dec 01, 2023 | 4:57 PMUpdated Dec 01, 2023 | 5:30 PM

Students, parents in panic mode as 48 schools in Bengaluru receive hoax bomb threat via email

The normal functioning of around 48 schools in Bengaluru was affected after they received bomb threats via email on Friday, 1 December. After combing the premises of the schools, the police declared it to be a hoax.

However, the threat spread panic as parents rushed to the schools to take their wards home.

Initially, 15 schools — most of them international schools — received the threat in the morning, and the remaining schools continued getting the threat email even till 1 pm, the police said.

On receiving the threat, the schools evacuated the students and staff to safe areas within the campuses, even as the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and Anti-Sabotage teams of the Karnataka police combed the schools.

“We received a call from the Command Centre and immediately rushed our teams to the schools that were located in different parts of the city. All students and staff have been safely evacuated from the mentioned school premises and thorough combing operations were carried out by the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and the Anti-Sabotage teams,” a senior police officer said.

The police said the emails originated from the same source. However, the source could not be immediately traced as a masked Internet Protocol ID, probably an overseas virtual private network, was used.

Also Read: Salem police seize lorry carrying 2.5 tonnes of explosives

Govt assures of action

The authorities of the schools had a tough time as parents kept calling them over the phone.

“Certain schools in Bengaluru city have received emails today morning indicating a ‘bomb threat’. Anti-sabotage and bomb detection squads have been pressed into service to verify and ascertain the claims of the email. The threat seems to be a hoax. Even then all efforts will be made to trace the culprits,” Bengaluru City Police Commissioner B Dayananda told reporters.

A screen capture of the mail. (X)

“Cybercrime police stations across the city are coordinating with each other to trace and locate the origin of the email,” Additional Commissioner of Police, East Zone, Raman Gupta told South First.

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and leader of Opposition R Ashok visited some of the schools and assured the panic-stricken parents of initiating strict action against the culprits.

It may be recalled that this was the second time such hoax bomb threat emails were sent to schools. Home Minister G Parameshwara also promised stringent action against the perpetrators.

“We have taken all precautionary measures and parents need not panic. The cybercrime police are already working to track down the accused through the IP address,” he said.

“So far, with the combing operations conducted at several schools, nothing suspicious has been found as of yet and prima facie looks like this is a hoax email. Forty-eight schools have received the email, and our cybercrime teams are working to get to the source of the emails,” Additional Commissioner of Police, West Zone, Satheesh Kumar told South First.

CM orders through probe

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.

State Home Minister G Parameshwara said the message had come from an email id “kharijites@beeble.com,” saying bombs had been placed in the 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 is true or a hoax and measures to be taken accordingly. We will verify who is behind it and if there is an 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.

Siddaramaiah said, “I have spoken to police officers and instructed them to take adequate security measures at all places, to remain cautious, and to find 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 DK Shivakumar visited one of the schools which received the bomb threat. He enquired about the situation from the school authorities and the police.

“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 e-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.