Police sent sniffer dogs and bomb disposal squads to temple town of Chotila in Surendranagar district on Thursday afternoon after the temple received a letter stating bombs had been placed there to blow off the premises. Vasangiri Gosai, the priest of goddess Chamunda temple atop a hill in Chotila, alerted police after receiving a letter at 12:30 pm on Thursday. The letter delivered through post stated that 18 bombs had been planted in the temple and that the premises will be blown off within a few minutes. Soon, bomb disposal squads from Rajkot and Surendranagar were rushed to Chotila. Sniffer dogs from Rajkot were also pressed into service.
“We scanned the entire temple premises but found nothing suspicious. Premises on the foothill of the hill were also sanitised. Nothing suspicious has been found from anywhere. The letter seems to be a hoax but we are still on high alert,” Chotila police inspector Pratapsinh Gohil told The Indian Express.
Police said that the letter, written in Hindi, was posted from nearby Sayla town of Surendranagar district. The sender identified himself as one Dhimant Nimavat and claimed that he was a don based in Sayla. The letter also mentioned that bombs had been planted at residence of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. The sender claimed that he was an agent of the Islamic State (IS) terror group and that his father was also involved in similar activities.
“We also went to the address in Sayla and located the family who is mentioned in the letter. But Nimavat’s father told us that his son lives in Surat where he has been employed by a private bank. He also told us that some miscreants have written similar letters in his son’s name in the past also,” Gohil, who is investigating the case, said.
Based on a complaint filed by Gosai, Chotila police have booked the sender of the letter for promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, for making statements conducing to public mischief and criminal intimidation by anonymous communication.
The PSI said the temple remained open to devotees while the sanitisation exercise was open. “There were not too many visitors today. The temple remained open while we scanned the premises,” added Gohil.