Residents of Vasant Kunj’s DDA flats woke up to the sound of sirens early Saturday morning. But what they initially thought was “routine movement” of police personnel turned out to be an elaborate procedure to remove a mortar shell found abandoned in the area. “Our colony is close to Kishangarh village and fights frequently break out there, requiring police intervention. We assumed it was the same thing this time and vehicles were heading there,” Subhash Chandra, a resident of Vasant Kunj, said.
It was not until the vehicles came to a halt near Park Machli Wala that it dawned on the residents that the problem was closer home.
A mortar shell was discovered in a dry riverbed adjoining the park, near a road leading to Kishangarh village. Police personnel arrived a little before 9 am, followed by a bomb disposal squad of the National Security Guard (NSG), and emergency services, including ambulances and fire tenders.
Police officers confirmed that a PCR call to Vasant Kunj police station was made at 8.30 am, after a guard in the area spotted the explosive.
Police said they are still trying to ascertain where the shell came from.
“A corroded mortar shell was found near the main gate of the park. The area was cordoned off. Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), fire department and NSG were roped in,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Chinmoy Biswal said.
Although people were not evacuated, the area was cordoned off and, as an “interim measure”, a bomb blanket was placed around the shell.
“The BDS team of the NSG, using a sophisticated ROV (remotely operated vehicle), carefully picked the unexploded explosive ordinance (UXO) and placed it in a vessel. It will be carried to Manesar, where it will be disposed of following standard protocol,” Biswal said.
He added, “From visual inspection, the UXO appears to be foreign-made, with the fuse intact but of old vintage. A case has been registered under the Explosive Substances Act 1908 at Vasant Kunj (north) police station and investigations are underway.”
People in the area remained tense until 1 pm, when the shell was finally picked up using the ROV, put in a blast-proof case, and taken away.
A resident said the park next to the spot where the device was found is popular among adults and children alike.
“We were all very worried and people were panicking. Initially, police did not tell us what the problem was, but once the rumour about the bomb began circulating, everyone was terrified,” S R Singh, a resident, said.
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