In the run-up to Republic Day, at least six hoax bomb threats have been reported in Uttar Pradesh's Noida, Ghaziabad, Kanpur and Allahabad this week.
The miscreants behind these hoax threats, which even prompted evacuations in hospitals and shopping malls, are yet to be identified. FIRs have been lodged in connection with some of the incidents, according to officials.
Panic gripped a busy neighbourhood in Noida's Sector 63 on Friday morning as heavy security was deployed and the area cordoned off following an alert that a bomb-like device was found on a road.
"The device was checked by a bomb disposal squad which found that it had no detonator or explosive attached to it. It turned out to be a suspicious-looking item with a watch strapped to its front portion and placed there by some miscreant," a police spokesperson said.
On Thursday, an unidentified caller informed a prominent private hospital in Noida's Sector 27 that a bomb was placed in its basement, triggering panic and evacuation of people from the premises.
"Police personnel, bomb disposal squads, dog squads and fire tenders reached the hospital immediately and the building was checked for any suspicious item. It turned out to be a hoax," Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Noida, Ranvijay Singh had said.
In Ghaziabad, an LPG cylinder with a watch-like device attached to it triggered an alarm on Wednesday. The "suspicious" item was found in an empty plot in Madhuban Bapudham area by two police officials on patrol duty.
A bomb disposal squad soon reached the spot and found that it was not a bomb. However, an FIR has been lodged against an unidentified person, according to Ghaziabad police officials.
Two hoax bomb threats were also received in Allahabad and one in Kanpur on Friday.
"The police were informed that a bomb had been placed in PVR mall (Vinayak City Centre). Security was deployed immediately and the area cordoned off for a search by bomb disposal squads and anti-sabotage teams," SP (City) Dinesh Kumar Singh.
The officer said similar information was received regarding the Star World multiplex on Katghar road in Mutthiganj area of the city. Both turned out to be hoaxes.
Singh said police are tracking the persons who gave the false information and action would be taken against them.
In Kanpur, a Twitter user flagged a bomb threat for South X shopping mall in Kidwai Nagar area and a couple of other crowded spaces in the city on Friday, triggering panic among the public and quick deployment of security personnel.
Later, in a statement, the Kanpur police said it was a hoax as no explosives were found in the vicinity of the mentioned spots. An FIR was lodged against the Twitter user at the Juhi police station and legal proceedings initiated.
The Twitter handle, @suryavanshiBad1, which had posted the bomb hoax, could not be found on Saturday morning.