People in Punjab’s Amritsar reported hearing “two loud bangs” early on Friday which woke them up, but officials said it was the sound of the fighter jets of the Indian Air Force flying near the border with Pakistan.
Social media exploded with residents claiming “blasts” and ”heightened air activity” in the city and soon #Amritsar started trending with conversation around “sonic booms”, “low flying jets and “loud sounds across the sky”.
Senior superintendent of police (rural) Parampal Singh said it was a sonic boom of the fighter jets of the Indian air force. Sonic boom happens by shock waves created by an object that travels through the air faster than the speed of sound.
“The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an exercise last night during which many fighter jets flew near the India-Pakistan border in Amritsar at supersonic speeds,” said the SSP.
Amritsar Police officials appealed to the people not to panic and said they have checked the “entire city”. Amritsar’s commissioner of police (CP) SS Srivastava said he too heard the sounds but said: “We have got checked from all the city, nothing has happened”.
“We have gathered information from Verka, Sultanwind area, bus stand, railway station, Airport Road, Chheharta etc. We have not got any information about any blast in the city. Even, we didn’t get any such information at our emergency numbers,” additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP-city 1) Jagjit Singh Walia said.
He also appealed to the people not to believe the rumours being spread on social media.
“Everything is fine in the city, as per our information,” he said.
Residents of the holy city said they heard the bangs at around 1:15 am, forcing them to come out of their houses. Following this, the sound of flying aircraft was also heard in Amritsar and the areas near the border with Pakistan.
Some tweeted that their windows panes cracked after the loud sound and some asked others to stop “rumour mongering”.
“Some rumour mongers are spreading this screenshot from India TV. This is old news from November 2018. If you see someone spreading it, please report that tweet. Don’t fall for rumours. #Amritsar (sic),” user Roshan Lal wrote.
Amritsar is 28 kilometres away from the Wagah border with Pakistan. Hostilities between the neighbours escalated last month when India attacked a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot of the Jaish-e-Mohammed that had carried out a suicide attack in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. Forty CRPF soldiers were killed in the worst terror attack in decades.