Airborne attack warnings, Indian airports on high alertDecember 4th, 2008 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) Security at Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore airports has been heightened after warnings of hijacking and terror strikes, ahead of the 16th anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition, an official said Thursday.”We had specific intelligence inputs that militants from Pakistan or Afghanistan were planning to strike airports (in India) ahead of the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
The centuries-old Babri mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh was demolished by Hindu activists Dec 6, 1992, claiming the site was the birthplace of Hindu Lord Ram. The incident led to nationwide protests by Muslims and a spate of communal riots in the country.
The unprecedented security measures at the three major airports and 13 others across the country come following the Nov 26 terror attacks in Mumbai that left at least 172 people dead.
These airports have been categorised as “hyper sensitive” by security agencies, the official said.
A high-level meeting was called Tuesday to plan out an action. The matter was also taken-up with the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali H. Major.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been asked to coordinate in air surveillance at airports, according to the official.
Sniffer dogs were deployed at some airports and sky marshals have been deputed on planes flying on sensitive routes, the official added.
A former official of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) told IANS on condition of anonymity that if terror attacks in Mumbai were any indication, the threat to airports would rise further.
“Airports are always the first choice for terrorist attacks,” he said.
He said Indian airports, even hyper-sensitive airports, do not have a foolproof security.
“We have actually not geared up to meet the terror threat which is only going to be more acute in the days to come.”
Tags: air chief marshal, airports in india, babri masjid, babri mosque, communal riots, hindu activists, indian airports, mumbai terror attack, sky marshals, sniffer dogs, unprecedented security measures