NE airports on alert after hijack threat

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Guwahati, Jan 19 (UNI) The security apparatus of the Home Ministry has alerted all the airports of the Northeast region and north Bengal following intelligence reports of a possible strike by militant groups before the Republic Day.

''According to intelligence output, plans have been hatched by the ULFA in Bangladesh to hijack an aircraft to give a larger profile of the militant group in front of international eyes as well as dwindling number of cadres,'' top official sources said.

The sources said all the airports in the Northeast were put on high alert immediately after receiving the intelligence inputs, while the Bagdogra and Kolkata airports have also been alerted as the security forces were not keen on taking any chances.

Though the security of all airports is now looked after by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), other security agencies, including the State police forces, have been put on alert to foil any such attempt by militants,'' the sources added.

In the Northeast, some airports are vulnerable since the apron and runways are not fully protected by a high security wall.

The sources pointed out that security measures in some of the airports were not adequate and some of the smaller ones did not have proper boundary walls, making it possible for anyone to sneak inside.

In fact, dreaded ULFA militant Prabal Neog, who was arrested in Tezpur in September last year, admitted before the police that he had travelled inside Arunachal Pradesh by using the passenger helicopter services, which proved that he had entered the airfields on several occasions.

Senior Superintendent of Police of Guwahati city V K Ramisetti also admitted that after receiving the input, security measures at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport were intensified.

He said though it was primarily the responsibility of the CISF to guard the airport, the police and other security agencies were also keeping a close watch.

He said the CISF only worked inside the airport and the police and other security agencies were on guard outside the boundaries. He revealed that a comprehensive security plan had been chalked out to ensure security of the airport.

UNI MT KK PB BD1802

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