SRINAGAR: Srinagar and adjoining areas were jolted by a big bang late on Tuesday with fearful residents rushing out of their homes in panic. This took place exactly at: 21:40:29 IST.
Before any official would comment social media exploded with plethora of posts some suggesting an earthquake and some a massive explosion. The reason it was not instantly taken as an earthquake was because, many believe quakes don’t usually strike with a bang and don’t create sound. The bang was heard far and wide.
The confusion was worst confounded when Director of Srinagar Meteorological Department Sonum Lotus spoke to a new channel saying “It could be any thing but it is not an earthquake”.
The rumours amidst looming war like situation on borders was but natural with unregulated social media news pages only adding to the confusion and panic. The strongest rumour was however about an explosion. This had its origin in a recent missive by the Indian Air Force through which it had announced that it was conducting a massive demolition practice of 100 to 120 kg bomb in Srinagar.
“Air Force Station Srinagar is conducting a massive demolition practice in coming days while locals living around the station have been asked to stay alert and take all precautionary measures. The demolition practice of 100 to 120kg bombs were scheduled to take place on 30 Aug and 6 September between 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, but this practice has been suspended and new dates will be fixed for the same in coming days”, the document said.
The villages that had been asked to stay indoors include Gogoo, Lagaon, Ompora, Buchroo, Guduassatu, Noaroo, Ichgoan, Kazibagh, Khanpora, Humhama and Sheikhpora, all located in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
“There is no need to panic. It will be a routine exercise. Locals living adjacent to Air Force Station need to stay indoors instead of remaining under open sky,” a local news agency had quoted a security officer as saying.
When at 9.45 PM first official reaction came it too didn’t help dissipate the panic. Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary tweeted “THIS WAS SCARY. HOPE EVERYONE IS SAFE. #EARTHQUAKE”.
This was scary. Hope everyone is safe. #EARTHQUAKE
— Shahid Choudhary (@listenshahid) September 22, 2020
However speculations were put to rest at 10.25 PM, when after categoric denials first, Meteorological Department chief Sonum Lotus finally declared that this indeed was an earthquake.
“FRIENDS IT WAS AN EARTHQUAKE”, Lotus sent one line message on his official WhatsApp handle.
With this Lotus provided EQ Parameters: M: 3.6; Date: 22.09.2020;; Time: 21:40:29 IST;; Lat: 34.15N; Long: 74.70 E; Depth: 5 Km; Region: Srinagar, J&K
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