Panic gripped Uttarakhand including the large number of Char Dham pilgrims and their families back home for over an hour as local television channels aired news about an unknown number of suspected terrorists firing indiscriminately inside the high security Tehri Dam on Thursday afternoon.

The nearly running commentary on the Superintendent of Police cordoning off the area and attempts being made to nab the intruders only added to the panic. The whole drama was declared a ‘mock drill' after an hour.

Several residents however reacted angrily. “Mock drills are good to ascertain the security preparedness. They should be designed to put the cops to test and not hold the public to ransom,” observed Major (Retd.) S. K. Sharma and Neena Pundir.

Meenakshi, a journalism student, felt that the authorities should have taken the local scribes into confidence to avoid telecast of news and avoid panic reactions.