Rumours of fresh firing at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and at other spots in south Mumbai created panic on Friday afternoon.
The rumours started around 1 pm, with people claiming to have heard gunshots outside CST station. Some claimed to have seen “terrorists” driving around in a white car and shooting indiscriminately.
At the state secretariat too, rumours of firing almost got the staff running out. Security was beefed up further after this.
Even as the police were trying to control the situation in South Mumbai, rumours began circulating of firing in suburban Juhu and a bomb hoax in MIDC, Andheri. The police confirmed that no such incident had take place.
Security forces rapidly fanned out across South Mumbai and assured people that there had been no further terror strikes. Railway officials said a State Reserve Police Force constable misfired his gun, leading to panic and people running helter-skelter.
In the chaos, a door-frame metal detector collapsed, creating more confusion.
Panic levels were so high that passengers rushed out of the station and took refuge in nearby buildings and the neighbouring St George Hospital.
Some passengers on local trains to CST received calls from friends at the station, telling them to alight before the terminus.
The Central Railway stopped suburban train services from 1.20 pm to 1.35 pm as a precautionary measure.
Anti-Terrorism Squad chief K.P.S. Raghuvanshi rushed to CST to verify that it was indeed secure. Minutes later, railway policemen were issuing announcements at every station, and police vans with loudspeakers circled South Mumbai’s streets saying the city was safe.
After a thorough combing operation, the railways were given a security clearance and services were restored.