Hoax Bomb Threat: Previous instances in Delhi, Bengaluru point to involvement of students

- May 1, 2024
| By : Tahir Bhat |

Panic, ruckus, jam-packed streets - the national capital region on Wednesday witnessed total chaos as more than 100 schools received hoax bomb threats via emails

Representational photo

While the phenomenon of mass threat emails to schools is rare, many such cases that were cracked by the police were traced to students who said they created panic ‘just for fun’ and to evade exams

Panic, ruckus, jam-packed streets – the national capital region on Wednesday witnessed total chaos as more than 100 schools received hoax bomb threats via emails. The schools were evacuated and the parents were asked to take their children home.

Delhi Police swung into action soon after receiving the information and helped the school authorities to escort the students to playgrounds, following which they were handed over to the parents.

However, this incident is not unique, as schools across the country often receive such threatening emails. On the other hand, such a mass scare is rare.

Some of the instances are as follows: –

Bengaluru witnessed a similar episode in December 2023, with over 48 schools receiving threatening emails, causing widespread panic and evacuations. Some schools received the emails directly in their inbox at 6:30 am, while others received them in two parts, exacerbating the panic. The emails were routed through various locations and IP addresses to obfuscate their origin.

Bengaluru Police responded promptly and deployed sniffer dogs, anti-sabotage units, and bomb detection squads to ensure the safety of students and school staff. Despite the absence of direct threats, some schools in other parts of the city also initiated precautionary measures and sent students home.

Subsequent investigations confirmed the bomb threats to be false alarms, echoing a concerning trend of false threats targeting educational institutions and children.

The Troubling Trend of Hoax School Bomb Threats

While incidents like those in Delhi and Bengaluru remain infrequent, India has witnessed a surge in bomb threats directed at schools, with many turning out to be ploys aimed at sowing chaos.

The perpetrators, often anonymous callers, are frequently identified as students seeking to cause disruption or evade examinations, as evidenced in previous incidents in Delhi in 2016.

In 2019, a Mumbai school found itself targeted by a bomb threat, which investigations later linked to a 12-year-old student.

Similarly, in 2022, two schools in Bengaluru received hoax calls. In one instance, a student called to delay an exam, while in the other case, the call was made as a prank.

Just a few months ago, in February, Chennai Police addressed bomb threat emails sent to 13 schools in Chennai, ultimately deeming them as likely hoaxes upon finding nothing suspicious.

In February 2024, Delhi Public School RK Puram received a bomb threat via email, claiming the presence of two devices on the premises. However, subsequent police investigation revealed the threat to be unsubstantiated.

Though the sender remained untraceable, speculation among senior officers hinted at the possible involvement of students from the same school.

In May 2023, Delhi Police disclosed that a bomb threat targeting Delhi Public School on Mathura Road was traced back to a 16-year-old student from within the school itself.

The minor admitted to the police that the act was merely “for fun”.

These threats turned out to be attempts to create panic.