A alleged “ticking time bomb” placed in a bag aboard a Pathankot-bound passenger train led to a massive joint operation by the police of three districts, the GRPF and the Army.Three hours later, after the railway police and the Punjab Police’s bomb-disposal squad found nothing dangerous, the 74901 Jalandhar- Pathankot DMU train was allowed to proceed, but not before the security agencies had evacuated 300 passengers for checking.Around 11.20 am, when the train reached Kandrori (in Kangra district) on the Jalandhar- Pathankot track, a woman passenger got down from the train to use a washroom at the station, leaving behind her briefcase in the train. The train chugged off while the woman was still in the washroom.She had boarded the train from Mukerian.Some boys boarded the same compartment where the woman had her bag. As the train was set to start its onward journey, the boys shouted that they could hear a “ticking sound emanating from the briefcase”.Somebody said the sound was like that of “a ticking time bomb”.
Soon, the authorities got into action.Even as the youths were trying to confirm the origin of the sound, a phone call made by a passenger to Pathankot SSP Rakesh Kaushal ensured that the train was halted. Everything started happening at a breakneck speed. GRPF personnel also arrived there and so did police personnel of Pathankot and Kangra districts. The bomb-disposal squad started its job after a passenger, unmindful of the impending danger, managed to move the bag out of the bogey using a stick.Meanwhile, the Ferozepore divison railway authorities decided to halt the rail traffic on the otherwise busy route that also serves the Jammu area.Gurdaspur SSP Jagdeep Singh Hundal was informed and he asked his men to be in a state of full preparedness. Initially, there were rumours that two wires were hanging out from the briefcase and that the bag also contained a battery. This forced the police to call in reinforcements.SSP Kaushal said the security agencies could not have taken the threat lightly in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack.After a thorough search, it was found that there was nothing dangerous in the bag. The police also questioned the owner of the bag and did not find anything incriminating in her statement.