G20 Summit: Hoax call and party drone keep Delhi police on their toes

Sep 09, 2023 10:01 PM IST

Both cases were harmless — while the call about explosives turned out to be a hoax, the drone was being operated to record a birthday celebration

Two security alerts in central Delhi — the first a call about explosives, and the second regarding a drone in the controlled zone — kept Delhi Police personnel on their toes on Friday, on the eve of the G20 Summit in the Capital, police officers aware of the two cases said.

Paramilitary forces patrol outside Jama Masjid in Old Delhi on Saturday. (AP)
Paramilitary forces patrol outside Jama Masjid in Old Delhi on Saturday. (AP)

Both cases, however, were harmless — while the call about explosives turned out to be a hoax, the drone was being operated to record a birthday celebration, said deputy commissioner of police (central) Sanjay Kumar Sain.

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The first incident occurred at 7.50am, when the Jama Masjid police station received a call about explosives being placed at Jama Masjid. “Immediately, police teams, along with bomb disposal squads, rushed to the spot and carried out a search as per the standard operating protocol,” said Sain, adding that nothing suspicious was found in the search.

The police then focused their attention on the caller and traced the phone to a 15-year-old boy studying at a madrasa nearby. “It turned out that his 14-year-old fellow student used his phone to make that call. They made that call for fun, and in the hope to leave the madrasa in the chaos,” said the DCP, adding that other investigating agencies, such as the special cell and the Intelligence Bureau, also investigated the call and found nothing suspicious.

No legal case was pursued in this case.

The second security scare occurred at around 11.30pm, when the police learnt about a drone in the jurisdiction of the West Patel Nagar police station. Since the flying of drones has been banned in the city till the end of the Summit, the police rushed to the spot and found that a man had organised a birthday party for his one-year-old nephew. “Since the party was being organised on the terrace of the house, he had arranged for a drone to cover the event,” said the DCP.

The recording of the drone was checked to rule out the possibility of it being used for any mischief, and thereafter it was seized. A case was subsequently registered against the device owner, Harmanjeet Singh, who had allegedly rented out the drone.

“We registered a first information report (FIR) under Indian Penal Code section pertaining to disobedience of an order promogulated by a public servant,” said Sain.

All-women team at police control room

The Delhi Police control room, that is monitoring feeds from 1,443 CCTV cameras installed at different locations to monitor the movement of G20 dignitaries, security arrangements, and to watch for suspicious activities, is being operated by an all-women police team, officers aware of the matter said.

The 100-odd women in this team are newly recruited police personnel who were trained for three months, said a senior police officer.

On Saturday, this team identified 137 feeds needing work. These included faulty points of electrical wiring, parking and other issues. “Responding within minutes, the PCR vans stationed at nearest locations were immediately rushed there and got it rectified,” the officer said, declining to be named.

Deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Pratiksha Godara, who heads the control room, said every activity around all major venues of the event were being closely monitored. “Since these CCTV cameras are focused on all embarked areas, we can find out the psychological and physical characteristics, traits and behaviour of people coming to place of visit as invitees or functionally required persons,” said Godara.

“These cameras are also helping us in keeping a close vigil on the law-and-order scenario around all important establishments,” she said.

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