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'IM may hijack airplane to secure Bhatkal's release'

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security has directed airports to beef up security, after receiving inputs of an Indian Mujahideen terror plot

In a letter of caution to Mumbai airport, and other airports of the country, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has asked authorities to beef up security arrangements after they received inputs indicating that Indian Mujahideen (IM) may organise an aircraft hijacking or forcible intrusion at smaller airports to release Yasin Bhatkal, the alleged founder leader of IM, who was arrested in August 2013.

Airport authorities have been asked to strengthen anti-terrorist measures and monitor all flight operations. File pic
Airport authorities have been asked to strengthen anti-terrorist measures and monitor all flight operations. File pic

Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) has received directives by the intelligence agency to tighten security measures. The letter (copy with mid-day) has stated ‘inputs received indicative of a heightened threat perception’ to Civil Aviation Sector. The letter has also asked the airport authority to monitor all flights operations of airport/ airstrip/helipads.

As a result, the entry of visitors to the airport will remain closed till August 20. An officer from BCAS, said, “Visitor passes are not being issued till August 20. All other operations will function as they are. These precautions are usually taken during Independence and Republic Day.”

No cabs
In addition, the online service of booking radio cabs, which commenced last month, has also been temporarily stopped by MIAL. According to officials, the airport authority is taking all these measures as precaution, and services are expected to resume after August 20.

Precautions mentioned by BCAS
>> Stringent ladder-point checking
>> Enforcement of anti-sabotage measures
>> Strengthening of anti-terrorist measures
>> Checking of vehicles entering the car parking area to preclude possibility of car bomb attacks 
>> Enhanced security measures at cargo terminal and checking of catering items

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