Wednesday, 25 November 2020

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Red alert at Indian airports following hijack threat

Security has issued a high-alert advisory to all carriers and airports across the country.

New Delhi,  Security was further strengthened in airports across India Friday and sky marshals ordered on flights after intelligence reports that terror groups might target an Air India flight operating from a South Asian country.

'As far as the ministry is concerned, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security has issued a high-alert advisory to all carriers and airports across the country,' a spokesperson for the civil aviation ministry said.

This requires security agencies, airlines and airport authorities to adopt the entire drill that is already specified for hijack alerts,' the spokesperson said, adding that sky marshals on all planes and multi-point frisking were part of the drill.

Sources in the aviation security agency said an alert was already on in view of Republic Day next week. Security had been enhanced after reports of a possible hijack of a flight from or going to a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) country.

Air India spokesperson Jitender Bhargava said the intelligence reports were being looked into. 'We are looking into the intelligence inputs. We are taking action accordingly,' Bhargava told IANS.

Official sources confirmed that a red alert has been sounded in airports across the country. Paramilitary forces have been deployed at all airports, especially in the north east, and army units near the airports asked to stand by. Last week the home ministry had asked seven states to remain fully alert to prevent any attempt by terrorists to disturb peace.

The advisory was sent to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam besides Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi, asking the authorities there to take all precautionary measures to foil any possible terrorist attack.

The civil aviation ministry has also advised all states to beef up security at all vital installations, while the home ministry has asked the states to take special measures to protect VIPs and other distinguished people at airports.

Officials said the government regularly issues advisory to states, especially before Republic Day, Independence Day and major religious festivals, to remain on alert and take measures to thwart attempts of militant organisations and Maoists.

The threat to state-run carrier Air India is always higher compared to private airlines, officials said. (IANS)

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