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Minor arrested in India over bomb hoax

The 13-year-old was influenced by similar examples of children sending threats to airports and did it “for fun”

A 13-year-old boy has been detained in India for sending a bomb threat to Delhi airport, claiming that an explosive had been planted on a Dubai-bound flight. The minor was traced by police on Sunday to India’s northern state of Uttarakhand as a result of an investigation launched last week, Indian media reported on Sunday. 

The deputy police commissioner of Delhi airport, Usha Rangnani, told PTI news agency that the boy sent the threat on June 17 “just for fun.” The Class 9 student was reportedly “influenced” by news on social media platforms where he had learned about children sending similar hoax emails. 

The incident came just weeks after another 13-year-old, from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, was detained for sending a threat claiming there was a bomb on an Air Canada flight from Delhi to Toronto. The June 4 flight was isolated and sanitized, and the threat was eventually revealed to be a hoax.

Upon investigation, police discovered that the boy wished to see whether his mail could be traced, reported India Today. He also reportedly sent the threat for amusement. The boy appeared before a Juvenile Justice Board before being released to his parents.

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Grab from ANI footage showing a flight from Delhi to  Varanasi being evacuated on May 28, 2024, after a pilot found a threatening note in the lavatory.
‘Bomb note’ triggers panic on Indian plane

Both incidents come amid a spate of hoax threats against flights departing from the Delhi and other airports in the country in recent months. 

Last week, 41 airports, including those in Varanasi, Chennai, and Jaipur, received bomb threat emails, according to PTI news agency.  This led to extensive anti-sabotage checks that lasted for hours, but all of the threats were found to be hoaxes. 

In May, a flight from Delhi to the Hindu holy city of Varanasi was evacuated just before it was due to take off, after a pilot found a threatening note in the lavatory. Earlier, a note inscribed with the word “bomb” was found in the lavatory of an Air India flight from New Delhi to Vadodara in the western state of Gujarat.

Bomb threats were also received by hundreds of Indian schools and hospitals during the recent general elections.

Meanwhile, Sunday also marked the 39th anniversary of the deadly 1985 Air India bombing attack, in which 329 people were killed. Terrorists supporting ‘Khalistan’, a proposed separate state for Sikhs in India’s Punjab region, planted an explosive on the Montreal to London flight, which detonated over the Atlantic Ocean. Indian officials and diplomats led commemorations on Sunday amid strained relations between India and Canada. New Delhi has accused Ottawa of giving safe harbor to Khalistan separatists.

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June 24, 2024 at 05:27PM
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