Guwahati: `Bombile’ is the latest phrase terrorising Assam with reports of mobile phones suddenly exploding, causing the user to become unconscious. The mysterious phenomenon has prompted Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to order a scientific probe to unravel the bizarre occurrences.
An estimated 30 cases have been reported so far with more than 20 people admitted to various hospitals in Assam during the past one week. Most of the victims complained of nausea and a splitting headache, and some of them had to be literally wheeled into the hospital unconscious after the mobile handsets exploded soon after receiving a call.
"This is a mysterious phenomenon and so I have asked for a thorough probe by experts to find out the cause as to why mobile handsets are bursting in such a large number," Gogoi told a news agency.
At least 10 such cases were brought to the notice of the police - although no cases were registered as the officials were perplexed, not knowing what to do.
According to witnesses and victims, the explosions took place soon after receiving calls from numbers that appeared in red on the handset screens.
"I got a phone call from an unknown number and I noticed on my handset that the numbers were highlighted in red colour. Soon after I received the call, there was a loud sound and I was left unconscious," said Mujib Ali, the driver of a doctor in Guwahati.
Ali’s handset was blown to bits on Saturday.
"I experienced some sort of an electric shock soon after receiving the call and then later found myself in the hospital bed with some of my friends shifting me by calling the 108 emergency ambulance service," Ali told a news agency.
"After few hours in hospital I was released, but then I continue to have a splitting headache and drowsiness."
Mobile service providers are confused and have no scientific explanation to these bizarre cases.
"We have got numerous queries from users asking us to explain the reason, but we are not sure. We have asked for expert help from our head office to have an internal probe into the matter," said an official of Reliance Telecom Ltd requesting not to be named.
"The interesting thing is that some of the handsets that have burst are from genuine brands like Nokia, Samsung and Motorola. Initially, it was presumed the cases were witnessed in cheap Chinese make handsets, but now even that theory was proved wrong," a police official said.
But the incidents are triggering panic among mobile users in Assam with ‘bombile’ being the word that is in vogue now.
"Bombile is terrorising people to the extent that some of them have literally switched off their handsets and waiting for things to subside or hear some scientific explanation about the cause," said Tonmoy Barkataki, a local journalist.