Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai airports on high alert after hijack tip off; authorities launch probe

Security has been beefed up at international airports in Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad on Sunday after security agencies received a specific tip-off of a plan to simultaneously hijack aircrafts from these airports, The Times of India reported.

According to the report, the plan to hijack three planes would be carried out by 23 people.

The alert has been sounded after a woman sent an email last night informing the Mumbai Police of overhearing six men talking about a plan to simultaneously hijack planes. The Mumbai Police then shared the e-mail with all security and intelligence agencies.

According to PTI, the mail was sent by a Hyderabad-based woman. She claimed she overheard six men telling each other that "all 23 people have to split from here and board flights in three cities and hijack planes".

Meanwhile, an India Today report also added that the Mumbai Police had received a letter informing of a threat to bomb the airport.

A meeting of the Airport Security Coordination Committee was subsequently convened and the input was declared specific and actionable.

"A number of security measures have been put in place. We have increased and strengthened the patrolling, access control. The number of security personnel deployed has been increased," OP Singh, Director General of CISF was quoted by The Times of India as saying.

The CISF has called in its sniffer dog squads and quick reaction teams for undertaking sanitisation drills at the airports, they said, adding airlines have been asked to remain extra vigilant.

"However, there is no reason to panic and all the operations at these airports will be normal and without any hassle to passengers," a senior officer who is part of airports' security team said.

Singh further added, "Special anti-sabotage sweeps are being undertaken at these airports since morning and security agencies, including the Central Industrial Security Force, have enhanced frisking of passengers, baggage scanning, pre-embarkation checks and patrols in the vicinity of the airports."

Singh told PTI that "The e-mail could eventually turn out be a hoax but till investigations conclude all security drills to thwart a hijack like scenario are being carried out at the three airports," he

"The unidentified woman wrote in the e-mail that what she heard could be 'true or not' but she chose to inform the authorities as she felt it was her duty to do so as a citizen," a senior officer said.

At the Chennai airport, security has been strengthened at the domestic and international airports. However, flight traffic is unaffected by the enhanced security measures, officials said in Chennai.
Other airports in the country have also been sanitised

Other airports in the country have also been sanitised and officials asked to remain vigilant, the CISF DG said.

The police are probing the contents of the e-mail and trying to get in touch with the sender.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Apr 16, 2017 17:35:58 IST

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