Hours after the Kerala police went into a state of high alert following a bomb threat at the Guruvayur Temple, it emerged that the anonymous threat was a hoax.
On Saturday afternoon, the Guruvayur temple police arrested a 65-year-old man from Aluva in Ernakulam for making the hoax call. Balakrishnan, a native of Alapuzha settled in Aluva, had called the Guruvayur Srikrishna temple on Saturday to announce that the temple would be destroyed using a human bomb.
The Devaswom office received the call at around 8.30 am on Saturday. The caller described himself as the leader of an extremist organisation and said that a woman suicide bomber was being sent on the mission to destroy the temple, just as how former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber. The caller also said that the temple was being bombed because the Guruvayur Devaswom Administration had become extremely corrupt.
Within minutes after the call was received, a sizeable police force – including canine and bomb squads – was deployed in the temple. Police beefed up the security at the temple, subjecting every visitor to stringent security checks. The bomb squad and other police personnel also conducted comprehensive searches of the temple complex.
Simultaneously, proceeding on a complaint filed by temple manager Krishnadas, police traced the phone call back to a SIM card belonging to Balakrishnan. By 3pm on Saturday, police nabbed Balakrishnan, who they said was a ragpicker.
"He admitted that he felt like making a threatening call when he came across an empty prasadam kit of the temple while ragpicking on Saturday morning. He claims he was denied the free meal at the temple three years ago," Guruvayur ACP PA Sivadasan told The Times of India.
This is not the first time that the Guruvayur temple has received bomb threats, with the last hoax call coming in July 2015.