The flight was about to take off for Varanasi, the prime minister’s constituency, which goes to the polls on June 1 Grab from ANI footage showing a flight from Delhi to Varanasi being evacuated on May 28, 2024, after a pilot found a threatening note in the lavatory. © X/@ANI

A flight from Delhi to the Hindu holy city of Varanasi was evacuated just before it was due to take off on Tuesday morning, after a pilot found a threatening note in the lavatory. The note, scrawled on tissue paper, read: “bomb blast @30 minutes.” A response team was sent in, but no suspicious items were found.

“All necessary protocols were followed, and the aircraft was taken to a remote bay as per guidelines by airport security agencies,” IndiGo said.

All 176 passengers disembarked through an emergency door and an alternative flight was arranged, according to the carrier.

The incident comes at a time of fervent election campaigning in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where polling will be held on June 1 in the seventh and the final phase of the parliamentary election.

Two prominent opposition figures – Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav – are currently campaigning in the holy city.

A similar situation occurred on May 15, when a note saying “bomb” was found in the lavatory of an Air India flight heading from New Delhi to Vadodara in Gujarat state, NDTV reported, citing police. The note turned out to be a hoax.

Earlier this month, nearly 100 schools as well as hospitals and other public places in the Indian capital and other states, including Gujarat, received a bomb threat and were promptly evacuated. The threat was reportedly sent by email, from the address “[email protected],” which appears to be registered with a Russian provider. The Indian Home Ministry later described it as a “hoax” and urged people not to panic. Security was ramped up in the Indian capital after the scare.

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