The Navi Mumbai Police have called off the search operations in Borinaka, Uran, after reports that a group of the masked gunmen were spotted near the Indian Navy turned out to be a prank thought up by a 12-year-old schoolgirl. She was allowed to go with a warning and some counselling about the consequences of such rumours, reported Times of India. However, the local police will continue to patrol the region.
Another boy from the same school had narrated a similar story. Both students have been give police protection, reported The Indian Express. A police officer said, “Two constables have been provided to the students round the clock. This was after the family complained that they were being harassed.
According to the Times of India, the girl admitted to making up the story “for thrill”. She said she had seen pictures of Islamic State group militants in black clothes and that prompted her to come up with the story. An intelligence officer, however, said that the search operation was initiated after speaking to a handful of people. He said that they believed the girl after other students of the school also corroborated it. “Though such faux alerts remain a concern, we cannot afford to ignore any of them. Citizens must also realise that false alerts cost resources and money," he added.
Another officer told The Indian Express, “We have recorded statements of other villagers, who have told us that they have not spotted any suspicious men. We also went through all the CCTV footage of the nearby area where the two children ‘spotted’ the terrorists, but nothing has been found.” The Indian Navy had called off its search operations on September 23, a day after the alarm was raised.
The search began after two school students claimed on September 22 that they saw masked gunmen near the base. Police had also released sketches of at least two of the suspects in connection with the alert after speaking to the students. The two students of Uran Education Society School narrated what they reportedly saw to their principal. While the girl said she saw five armed men dressed in pathan suits running in the direction of the school, another schoolboy said he had seen a man in a pathan suit with a gun from the balcony of his home.