Alert at Sai Baba's Prashanti

Nilayam after bomb hoax


Deccan Herald

Anantapur, Oct. 4: Hoax bomb calls, which disrupted work at many State government offices in Hyderabad over the last fortnight, surfaced at Prashanthi Nilayam, the headquarters of Satya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi here, on Wednesday.

The bomb call was declared a hoax after a thorough search of the premises by the police. Sources said an unidentified person with a foreign accent called up Home Minister T Devender Goud on Tuesday and informed him that a bomb has been planted at the Satya Sai Baba Trust building and that it was timed to go off on Wednesday morning.

Goud immediately conveyed the same to the Intelligence IG who in turn alerted the district authorities. A team of police officials headed by Additional SP Swathi Lakra immediately rushed to Prashanthi Nilayam and a search conducted.

Sniffer dogs were not utilised because of the sanctity of the premises. After a thorough search operation carried out throughout Tuesday night to early Wednesday morning, the call was declared a hoax.

The police suspect some mischievous elements from among the foreign pilgrims were behind the hoax call and making investigations.But the hoax call has the police heighten security at Prashanthi Nilayam, as lakhs of pilgrims are expected to arrive over the next few weeks in connection with the Babašs birth anniversary celebrations which begin in the second week of October and culminate on November 25, his birthday.

The existing team of police officials headed by a DSP is being reinforced. A door-to-door enumeration of the residents of Puttaparthi is being carried out and vigil on movement of the pilgrims stepped up. Incidentally, the Sai Baba Trust used to pay the salaries of the police personnel posted for duty at Puttaparthi.

The State took over recently keeping in mind the various humanitarian and philanthropic activities being carried out by the trust.When Deccan Chronicle took the issue to the notice of Satya Sai Trust secretary Chakravarthi, he said ŗwe did not receive any such bomb call.

We have successfully conducted the birthday celebrations of the Baba in the past. People come here with devotion and love. There is no security threat as such, the trust secretary said after the hoax. (Aldous Huxley)