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Posted at: Aug 14, 2019, 7:47 AM; last updated: Aug 14, 2019, 7:47 AM (IST)BOMB HOAX AT ELANTE MALL

At first, staff took it for a mock drill

At first, staff took it for a mock drill
The show must go on: A day after bomb hoax, youths click selfies inside Elante Mall in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13

Employees of Elante Mall, who were present there when the safety alarm was sounded, said earlier they believed it was a mock drill, following which they didn’t react seriously. However, later when everyone started rushing out of the mall, even the staff, then they realised something was wrong.

Arun Kumar, who works at Barcelos, a restaurant on the third floor of the mall, said everyone first thought that it was a drill due to which many people stayed back. However, later they realised that it is not a drill following which he, along with other staff members, left the mall.

“Drills are conducted at the mall on a regular basis. So I thought it to be one of them. Later I realised there was some threat perception due to which we were asked to leave,” he said.

Similarly, Arun an employee at a store, New Balance, on the ground floor of the mall, also assumed it to be a drill. However, on seeing everyone rushing out of the mall, he also pulled the shutters down and escaped.

A majority of the people working in the stores at the mall said since they were simply asked to leave, there was no panic.

Tarsem, an employee at Café Delhi Heights, a restaurant, said the mall’s security asked them to leave at the earliest.

“They didn’t tell us that there is information of a bomb planted in the mall, following which we moved out of the mall calmly,” he said.

Interestingly, a large number of people used escalators to reach the ground floor and leave. A few people used fire exit.

Sonia and Sonali, both employees at the stall of Coloressence beauty products, said they used the fire exit to move out of the mall.

“We saw everyone was using escalators following which we took the fire exit which was more convenient and quick,” they said.

According to people working in different stores, it took around 40 minutes to get the mall evacuated. An employee at a club in Elante Mall said it took more than 30 minutes for everyone to leave the mall.

Vehicles entering parking lot not checked properly: Visitors

Visitors to Elante Mall said vehicles entering the parking lot are not checked properly and anybody can bring any unwanted material in the mall’s parking. Manpreet Singh, a frequent visitor, said besides a quick look at the boot of a car, security is least bothered about what all is kept in the vehicle. “I doubt they have devices to detect if someone is carrying any banned material, including explosives, in the car,” he added. Meanwhile, the Elante management didn’t reply to the query related to the security parameters adopted while moving vehicle to the parking lot in the mall’s basement.

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