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Bomb Hoax in Taj Mahal, Reopened after Two Hours

Bomb Hoax in Taj Mahal, Reopened after Two Hours

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NEW DELHI, Mar 4: A bomb scare led to emptying of the entire Taj Mahal complex of tourists but reopened after about two hours after it was found to be a hoax call.

The police quickly identified the caller and picked him up from Firozpur. The police sources later said the man was of unsound mind but was still assessing why did he make the bomb threat call at the Uttar Pradesh police emergency response number of 112 on Thursday.

A Satish Ganesh, additional director general (ADG) of police, Agra zone, said the man, identified as Vimal Kumar Singh, has been detained for questioning and he seems to be mentally unstable. “Prima facie it seems that he (Singh) is mentally unstable and is probably under treatment. We are probing why he made such a call. The Taj Mahal was reopened for visitors after about an hour and 45 minutes,” he said.

Singh is a native of Patiyali in Kasganj and is living at his maternal grandmother’s house in Okhra village in the Narkhi area of Firozabad, according to the initial investigation by the police.

After the threat call to 112 emergency response number of the Uttar Pradesh police at around  9 A.M. nearly 1,000 tourists inside then were evacuated from the monument complex in Agra. To avoid panic, the tourists were told that the monument was being closed to make way for a “very VVIP visit.” The caller had claimed that the bomb placed at the Taj Mahal could go off at any moment.

Security personnel soon took over the complex and later declared it safe for visitors after they carried out extensive search and screening operations and could not locate any explosives, officials said.

After the exit of the tourists, both eastern and western gates of the 17th-century monument were closed, said Ganesh. “Nothing objectionable was found inside the Taj Mahal premises in the search by field unit and thus the call about a bomb threat in Taj Mahal was deemed to be a hoax call,” he said.

The monument, which is conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and protected by the personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), was reopened to visitors at 11.15am, officials added.

(Manas Dasgupta)

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