School­girl’s ‘prank’ led to last week’s se­cu­rity scare at Uran

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Man­ish K Pathak

MUM­BAI: Last week’s se­cu­rity scare at Uran was the re­sult of a prank by a Class X school­girl, a se­nior In­dian Po­lice Ser­vice (IPS) of­fi­cer told Hin­dus­tan Times on Thurs­day. The of­fi­cer said the girl has con­fessed to her prank and apol­o­gised in writ­ing.

The girl, a stu­dent of Uran Ed­u­ca­tion So­ci­ety, told the po­lice she had seen five armed men, wear­ing masks and black clothes, while on her way to school last Wed­nes­day.

A boy from the same school also said he saw an armed man with a gun in the area that day, af­ter which Mum­bai, Uran and sur­round­ing ar­eas were put on high alert. The po­lice, anti-ter­ror­ism squad, Force 1, coast guard and navy launched search op­er­a­tions for pos­si­ble in­trud­ers.

How­ever, Uran po­lice of­fi­cials said they hadn’t been told about the girls’ con­fes­sion.

“We are re­ly­ing on the girl’s orig­i­nal state­ment and our search is still on. The students have not given any­thing in writ­ing,” said an of­fi­cer from Uran po­lice sta­tion, who did not wish to be named.

A se­nior anti-ter­ror­ism squad (ATS) of­fi­cer said if it was in­deed a prank, the po­lice could not take le­gal ac­tion against the two students, who are mi­nors.

Anand Bhin­garde, gen­eral sec­re­tary of Uran Ed­u­ca­tion So­ci­ety, said, “The po­lice have not told us yet that it was a prank. We did our job and did not take [the al­le­ga­tions] ca­su­ally.”

A com­mit­tee mem­ber of the school, who did not wish to be named, said, “If it was prank, why did the en­tire po­lice force con­duct search op­er­a­tions? It means the agen­cies must have re­ceived some re­ports.”

The In­dian Navy and coast guard con­ducted searches where the sus­pi­cious men were al­legedly seen. How­ever, they called off their searches af­ter 24 hours.

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