Author Topic: Anti-terror drill by Mumbai police triggered panic  (Read 6144 times)

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Anti-terror drill by Mumbai police triggered panic
« on: January 03, 2010, 11:08:51 am »
Mock drill at mall, panic in vicinity
Nitasha Natu, TNN 29 December 2009, 12:28am IST

MUMBAI: Rumours of a terror attack flew thick and wide as platoons of cops surrounded the Oberoi Mall in Goregaon (E) on Monday morning to conduct a mock drill. Sidewalks were jammed with onlookers, including those who had come down from the extended suburbs to find out if their kin working in the mall were safe. The drill was conducted for two hours, where a total of 250 cops ‘nabbed’ 12 terrorists and ‘rescued’ hostages. By this time, the Western Express Highway at Dindoshi was chock-a-block. Traffic cops had to rush to untangle the mess.

“We had made announcements on loudspeakers, asking people not to panic,” said additional commissioner Ram Pawar.

“The idea was to familiarise our personnel with the topography of the spot. If an actual attack takes place in future, our teams should know how to tackle it. A detailed study was conducted for three days.”

Local police, regional Quick Response Teams and combat mobiles were pressed into action. The area outside the mall was cordoned off and shoppers were escorted out by the mall staff. As part of the mock drill, 12 men posing as terrorists entered the mall, ’shooting’ people. The 12 ‘terrorists’ took refuge at the third floor of the mall. The police arrived and, along with the mall staff, evacuated the customers. The cops then decided on the best way to tackle the terrorists and finally nabbed them, firing dummy bullets.

But the sound of gunfire only led to motorists panicking further. “Memories of 26/11 came back to me in a flash. I called up home and asked my family to stay put,” said Bharat Trivedi, who was driving down the Goregaon flyover. A middle-aged woman, whose son works at a store in the mall, refused to calm down till the security brought him out to meet her.

“The mall’s role was to ensure that customers remained calm and were led to safety. We also provided bunkers, mall layout plans and security reinforcement to the cops, in addition to a hotline with the Dindoshi police station,” said the mall’s business head Shibu Philips.
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