It’s hard to miss the incessant announcements – on television, newspapers, speakers at markets, inside public transport buses and Metro trains. The message to remain alert about unclaimed items, however, clearly failed to hit home.
A reality check carried out by HT reporters and photographers across Delhi and NCR over the last one week caught both security agencies and members of the public napping.
The team placed bags at 10 different busy locations at Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida but the response time in detecting the unclaimed bags was abysmal.
One of the most shocking revelations was the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
In spite of being guarded by an army of Central Industrial Security Force and Delhi Police personnel state-of-the-art security gadgets, no one checked the bag left near the airlines ticket counter, which is located at the airport’s Terminal 3.
It was the same story at the New Delhi Railway Station, which witnesses a footfall of seven lakh visitors each day.
The fastest response time of the Delhi police was at the Lajpat Nagar market – 40 minutes. And that too when the bag was placed right outside a police post.
Detailed report: New Delhi | Noida | Gurgaon
The situation was worse at Gurgaon and Noida where bags placed near popular and busy markets and malls were not noticed for hours at end.
Despite the large number of terror attacks in Delhi, no one from the public noticed or raised an alarm about the bags.
Several media campaigns run by police in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida urging people to be vigilant about the abandoned objects at public places seems to have gone down the drain.
While Delhi Police refused to comment on the reality check, Noida police claimed they keep conducting sudden visit and raids at various places. Police admit it is impossible to keep a check at every location every time but they make sure no bag remains unattended.
(Team HT: Delhi – Faizan Haider, Rajat Arora. Gurgaon – Leena Dhankhar. Noida – Shashank Shekhar)