Ulfa-jehadi plan to hijack plane, airports on red alert

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Guwahati, Jan 4 (UNI) All airports and vital installations in northeast were on high alert after intelligence agencies warned of a possible hijack plan of an aircraft from the region.

Inteligence sources said the proscribed ULFA, with active support from jehadi outfits, was looking opportunities to hijack plane from an airport in the northeast.

The sources here today confirmed the reports of hijack threat perception saying more than one militant group could be involved in the conspiracy.

However, the sources ruled out involvement of al-Qaeda or other Taliban-sponsored militant groups in the hijack plans.

The Home Ministry sources added the hijack would be carried out by jehadi groups, with support of ULFA in the conspiracy, more by virtue of it being the most dreaded outfit in the region rather than its 'hijacking capabilities'.

''ULFA cannot pull off a hijack on its own and the jehadis will collaborate with it in this plan,'' the Home Ministry sources, added pref;erring anonymity.

ULFA is known to have close links with the jehadi outfits, with its top leaders, including 'c-in-c' Paresh Barua and 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa, believed to be living in Bangladesh.

The ULFA leaders are suspected to be running huge business empires in the neighbouring country and maintain close links with the jehadi outfits there.

Though the ULFA denies of having any links with jehadi state intelligence has proved otherwise.

The presence of jehadis in the region has also been focussed in various government as well as non-government watch-dogs' reports using NE as a 'transit' point to enter the country.

The militants are suspected to enter the country through Assam, acquire false passport and resident documents and move to other parts to carry out subversive activities.

All airports across the region have been put on red alert and highest security measures are in place to ensure that no sabotage plans were carried out.

The CISF officials said Quick Reaction Teams (QRT) deployed at the airports have been activated, while Bomb Disposal Squads and sniffer dogs pressed into service. Entry of visitors to the airports had been banned and 100 per cent manual checking of cabin baggage in flights was on, even as surveillance was stepped up at aerodrome parking lots and ticket counters, they said.

Though the sources refused to divulge the source of the hijack plan information, it is suspected that the recently arrested or surrendered militants might have spilled the beans.

The initial reports said the ULFA was planning to hijack a plane to barter the release of its jailed leaders.

No travelling advisory has been sounded yet, the sources added.

UNI SG PC SK HT1746

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