Careless passengers, who leave baggage unattended, spark unnecessary panic and put security teams on overdrive

Negligent and careless behaviour of airline passengers have been giving security agencies at Mumbai airport nightmares. Sources inside the security agencies manning Mumbai Airport have revealed that in the past two months officials have carried out 40 search exercises due to unclaimed baggage lying at the airport.

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The latest occurrence was on Monday evening when an unclaimed piece of luggage near the departures gate at the International terminal triggered panic. Fearing a bomb threat, the Mumbai police, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the bomb squad were called in. However, examinations revealed that the bag contained nothing suspicious. Similarly, on September 16, a woman's handbag and another bag with baby items triggered off alarm bells and on September 9, CISF and bomb squads were deployed again when unclaimed baggage was found.

"Owing to the careless behaviour of passengers, the authorities have to go into overdrive and carry out these exercises to ensure the safety of passengers. They should understand their cooperation is required to keep the airport safe. Moreover, I feel that careless passengers should be penalised," said an official manning the Mumbai airport.

Confirming the growing incidence of unclaimed baggage, Jitender Negi, senior commandant, CISF, said, "It is true that such cases frequently occur. However, we can take no chances and have to check bags to guarantee that things are under control."

"Such things occur frequently and the CISF has to conduct investigations to make certain that things are under control. My appeal to flyers is that they must take care of their luggage and not leave it unattended," added DCP (Zone VIII) Satyanarayan Choudhary.