Airports put on alert over Lashkar threat on I-Day
Security at major Indian airports, including Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has been beefed up after Intelligence Bureau alerted security agencies that militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) may try to hijack a plane ahead of the Independence Day on August 15.
Sources at the airport said that a specific input was received on Friday that members of LeT, which could also be women, might attempt to hijack a plane flying out of Delhi.
"Women cadre of LeT might try to enter the airport posing as passengers and hijack a plane. Security agencies at the airport are already on alert but they have been asked to step up the arrangements after the input," a source at the airport said.
To start with, passengers were being screened at the gate and made to go through Secondary Ladder Point Checking (SLPC) too, just before boarding the plane. SLPC is conducted when a threat is at its highest level and passengers are comprehensively frisked just before entering the aircraft. Presently only few airlines, especially those going to the US, conduct SLPC.
In view of the sensitivity of the threat, even domestic airlines have been asked to conduct SLPC, either at aerobridge or if they don't have the facility of aerobridge, then they can conduct the checking at the apron area.
According to sources in Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) - which is responsible for airport security - has been asked to put more men on its anti-hijacking team.
The CISF has formed a 'sweeping-squad' and those who are trained in profiling are part of it. "Their job is to identify suspicious passengers as soon as they enter the airport. The members of this squad have been placed across the airport," a BCAS official said.
Security has been beefed up at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad after an alert from the Bureau of Civil Aviation, a top Airport Authority of India official said on Saturday. The alert comes in wake of a warning from the Intelligence Bureau, advising tightening of security measures at four airports in the country, including SVPIA, he said.
- Asian Tribune -