A bomb scare turned out to be a hoax after the commercial control office of the Ferozepur railway division received a call at 9am on its emergency helpline that an explosive substance was planted in the Archana Express which would soon pull into the Jalandhar Cantonment railway station. About 20 trains were affected due to the combing operations that followed.
The train that runs between Jammu Tawi and Patna was stopped at the cantonment railway station for six hours on Tuesday. Officials immediately sounded an alert and city and railway police rushed to the station to take stock of the situation. The train was immediately evacuated and was released only after a thorough check by the bomb detection and disposal squads of Punjab Armed Police and the army.
BEEPING ALARMS BOMB SQUADS
However, during the screening in coaches, cops were alarmed after a detection device started beeping in coach S-5. Soon after, the army called its bomb disposal squad for intensive checking and sealed coaches S-4 and S-5. After a green signal from the squads, the train was sent to another shed where each bogie was checked by police bomb disposal and dog squad.
Police commissioner Arpit Shukla and other high ranking police officers got the train vacated and cleared platform 3 along with announcements by railway staff.
Following this, the army and military police also arrived and coordinated with police for the combing operation. The army called its own bomb disposal squad only after the beeping sound in coach S-5 and checked the train for half an hour after which it was cleared for its next destination.
Rumours of a suspect powder like substance put the central agencies on its toes and even their officials were spotted at the station.
Deputy commissioner of police Harjit Singh said the train was allowed to leave the station only after getting a clearance certificate from various agencies involved in the combing operation.
A case was registered under relevant sections of the IT Act, and Sections 182 (false information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication), 268 (public nuisance) and 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation) of the IPC.
PASSENGERS LEFT STRANDED
The passengers were a harried lot after the train was stopped at 9.30am. No other train was allowed till the Archana Express received a clean chit. Representatives of a local gurdwara organised a langar for the passengers.
They distributed food packets and tea among the passengers who had to wait for six hours.
An official said such combing operations halted operations, but there was no other option than to perform their duty. Police had a tough time controlling the crowd as people tried getting close to the train.