An unclaimed bag at the Chennai airport isn’t a rarity, given how close to 20 pieces of luggage are left behind and reclaimed on a weekly basis.
However, coming barely 16 hours after two post offices in the city were attacked with petrol bombs, a lone suitcase can escalate into a bomb alarm. And that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday at 6.50 pm.
People who had arrived to receive passengers from the arrival gate of the domestic terminal were taken aback, when a huge contingent of security personnel descended upon a black suitcase.
“We were asked to move back and police and CISF men came there and formed a cordon. After a while, bomb detection staff came with equipment and sniffer dogs to check the bag. ,” said Aravind L, who had arrived from Bangalore just then.
The suitcase, which is believed to be an imported one, was spotted by a CISF official who reported it immediately. No one had come near it, nor did anyone know the description of the person who had left it, said sources. When the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) arrived, they apparently scanned the bag - this is when alarm bells really started to ring, as the scanner started beeping.
Sources said that they opened the suitcase carefully to see if there was an IED inside, but instead, found only a stash of expensive electronics goods. “There was a laptop, a netbook and a tablet along with some documents and records. We will try to find the owner soon,” said an AAI official at the airport manager’s office. The bag was taken there and handed over to them, once it had been ascertained that it wasn’t a threat to passenger safety. Both the police and CISF have been on tenterhooks, because of the increased passenger rush at the airport courtesy the Deepavali season.
“We are staying vigil, despite the post office bombs being an isolated thing,” said an SI attached to the Airport Police.
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