After an alert was sounded by the police in Bengaluru on Saturday, rumours of the ‘possibility of a terrorist cell active in Bengaluru’ began to do the rounds on WhatsApp and social media. However, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has dismissed such messages and has asked people to refrain from spreading panic.
A message doing the rounds stated: “VERY HIGH ALERT DECLARED BY COMMISSIONER BHASKAR RAO: Received from Central Home ministry today. Be extremely cautious while visiting Malls, Movie Theatres, Crowded Streets, Prayer halls, temples,Mosques during this weekend. Avoid if possible. Possibility of a terrorist cell active in Bangalore (sic).”
After the message triggered panic among many, Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao spoke to the media and said that the high alert was issued as part of a general exercise that the police follow and that there was no truth in the message about the terrorist cell.
"This is a routine exercise that the police follows to ensure that the city is safe. This is an exercise that we have started to improve ourselves to see how KSP can be better, how the police force can better protect the people. This is something we are doing for ourselves. I request people not to panic over this high alert and do not believe in the fake news messages that are spreading on social media," he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Bengaluru police had issued a notice to all its personnel to remain on high alert in the city on Saturday. Commissioner Bhaskar Rao had stated that the alert was sounded for a 'general' threat and not for anything specific.
The advisory issued by the Commissioner directed Additional and Deputy Commissioners to sensitise high alert at all iconic Bengaluru areas like Vidhana Soudha, High Court, railway stations, metro stations, bus stations, major schools, malls, five-star hotels and busy markets. The police were also directed to ensure that CCTV cameras are functioning in all areas and that there's a visible police presence at check-posts. The circular also said that checks will be carried out at paying guest accommodations, service apartments, hostels and private buildings.