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28 May, 2024 10:32

‘Bomb note’ triggers panic on Indian plane

The flight was about to take off for Varanasi, the prime minister’s constituency, where polling is scheduled for June 1
‘Bomb note’ triggers panic on Indian plane

A flight from Delhi to the Hindu holy city of Varanasi was evacuated just before it was due to take off on Tuesday morning, after a pilot found a threatening note in the lavatory. The note, scrawled on tissue paper, read: “bomb blast @30 minutes.” A response team was sent in, but no suspicious items were found. 

“All necessary protocols were followed, and the aircraft was taken to a remote bay as per guidelines by airport security agencies,” IndiGo said.

All 176 passengers disembarked through an emergency door and an alternative flight was arranged, according to the carrier.

The incident comes amid fervent election campaigning in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where polling will be held on June 1 in the seventh and final phase of the country's parliamentary election. 

Two prominent opposition figures – Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav – are currently campaigning in the holy city.

On May 15, a note inscribed with “bomb” was found in the lavatory of an Air India flight from New Delhi to Vadodara in Gujarat state, NDTV reported, citing police. The note turned out to be a hoax.

Earlier this month, nearly 100 schools as well as hospitals and other public institutions in the Indian capital and other states, including Gujarat, received a bomb threat and were promptly evacuated. The threat was reportedly sent by email, from the address “sawariim@mail.ru,” which appears to be registered with a Russian provider. The Indian Home Ministry later described it as a “hoax” and urged people not to panic. Security was ramped up in the Indian capital after the incident.

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