A school girl in Navi Mumbai, who spread the word that she had spotted 4-5 men clad in Pathan suit, which led to a massive manhunt by the Navy, Coast Guard, NSG and Maharashtra ATS four days after 18 soldiers were killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Uri, was actually describing ISIS men in photos she had seen, according to the Times of India.
The girl told the police that the men were speaking "in a different language and carrying what looked like weapons" near the Uran Naval base. She later admitted to have seen "pictures of Islamic State terrorists wearing black clothes and flashing automatic weapons" and decided to spread the word that she had spotted them in Uran "for some thrill".
The girl was let off with a stern lecture on the consequences of such a prank, according to the report.
The Navi Mumbai police had called off their search operation on Sunday.
The fishing town of Uran is located across the eastern water front of Mumbai. The base located close to the town also houses units of MARCOS, the Navy's elite strike force.
"The search operation for the suspects in Uran has been operationally modified. But check points continue to be on the vigil. Any information on the issue is being thoroughly verified and steps are being taken to counter any untoward incident," Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said.
Indian Navy, which had sounded the highest state of alert after the first report of sightings of the armed suspects, had wound up the search operation two days back.
The girl's words had been corroborated at that time by other students of the Uran Education Society's school who said they had seen suspicious-looking armed men on Thursday, following which their teacher had informed the police. Subsequently, the Navy had issued a "highest state of alert" along the coasts, where several sensitive establishments and assets are located.
This is what happened after the hoax.
Massive combing operation in Uran and Karanja areas were carried out with the help of Coast Guard and CISF. The elite commandos from National Security Guard (NSG) and state police's specialised 'Force One' had also been roped in.
Western India's biggest naval base, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, fertiliser plants, refineries, power plants and the country's largest container port, JNPT are located in close vicinity of Uran.
Coastal security has been top priority after the 26/11 attacks, in which multiple locations in Mumbai were targeted by Pakistani terrorists who landed in the city using sea route.
(With PTI inputs)