`Instal phone caller identity equipment to trap pranksters'

CHENNAI, JULY 24. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, today said that she had ordered all educational institutions having telephones to fit caller identity (ID) equipment to the instruments. A similar order was issued to hospitals, government offices and buildings and all police stations.

This was to ensure that those making hoax calls were nabbed immediately, she said in a statement.

The action came in the wake of a series of threatening calls to several schools here yesterday, which proved to be hoax.

"It is reprehensible and condemnable that such a panic situation was created in 27 schools owing to anonymous calls and everyone concerned there was thrown into panic".

The false information created panic among parents and children. In a stampede at the John Milton Nursery and Primary School, Namasivayapuram, Choolaimedu, 15 children were pushed down and others walked over them. Of them, seven sustained grievous injuries and were admitted to hospitals. Nearly 100 schools did not function yesterday due to the false alarm. Parents, teachers and children were subjected to unnecessary mental agony and the police had to leave their normal duties and rush to the institutions to conduct searches.

"Unfortunately, there are some evil persons in our society who seem to think that this is a good practical joke and do not care for the consequences caused by their diabolical pranks".

Ms. Jayalalithaa also advised owners of private buildings and establishments to instal the facility.

Wishing the injured children speedy recovery, the Chief Minister said she had given instructions to the hospitals to provide best medicare to them. She deputed the Health Minister, N. Thalavai Sundaram, to visit the children and ascertain their progress.

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