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Bomb threats: 5 disposal squads for over 4K schools, Delhi Police tell HC

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 16 (PTI) Responding to a plea about the threat of bomb attacks on schools in the national capital, the city police have told the Delhi High Court there are a total of five bomb disposal squads (BDS) and 18 bomb detection teams for over the 4,600 schools here.

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In a status report filed in the court on Thursday, the Delhi Police stated they had issued guidelines last year to deal with bomb threats to schools and an order deputing nodal officers for deployment of BDS in case of a bomb threat has also been issued.

It said 120 mock drills were conducted in schools between January 1, 2023 and May 6 this year.

Earlier, Justice Subramonium Prasad had asked police to give details of steps taken to ensure that school children are evacuated safely without panic in case of a bomb threat, with least dependency on parents. It had also sought data on the number of schools in each zone, the nodal authority concerned in each zone, the number of mock drills etc.

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Petitioner Arpit Bhargava, a lawyer, filed the petition in 2023 in the wake of a hoax bomb threat to the Delhi Public School (DPS), Mathura Road.

In the latest report, the police said one BDS each is located in Central, East, New Delhi and South ranges, having 1764, 1032, 76, 1762 schools, respectively.

There is one squad with the railways and metro unit range, it added.

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"There are 18 Bomb Detection Teams (BDT), one each stationed in all 15 districts and one each for IGI Airport, Railway Unit and Metro Unit. The reporting authority for the BDT is the concerned district DCP or Unit DCP. 120 number of mock drills have been conducted in schools from 01.01.2023 to till 06.05.2024," the report stated.

It said a detailed Standard Operating Procedure for Bomb Disposal Squads & Bomb Detection Teams has already been issued in 2021 and the nodal officers will respond to threat calls accordingly.

It further said the legal action to be taken in case of hoax calls and guidelines to be followed in case of bomb threats have been clarified in July last year.

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In the guidelines, the police have set out the role and responsibilities of different stakeholders -- police, fire department, school authorities-- in the event of bomb threats.

As per the guidelines, after assessing the threat call, the local police shall not only reach the location but also engage the BDTs, fire department, traffic police, disaster management team as well as ambulances and hospitals to deal with the situation.

Teams from special cell will investigate the terror angle behind the threat call, and proper law and order situation shall be maintained, it added.

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The Directorate of Education (DoE), in its status report, earlier said it has a "zero-tolerance policy" in matters of safety in schools and its officials are doing their best to ensure effective implementation of the guidelines for dealing with disasters, including bomb threats.

The DoE said it has issued several directions to institutions asking them to step up safety and security measures, including those mentioned in a circular dated April 16 on precautionary efforts and the role of the school authorities in cases of bomb threats.

The matter will be heard again next week. PTI ADS ADS SK SK

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