If you are a patient and are travelling out of the Delhi airport, be prepared ready for stricter checking. After receiving specific input that a human bomb posing as a patient might try to blow up a plane, security agencies have alerted their staff to double check patients especially those who have undergone surgery recently.
The alert was issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which was passed on to security agencies last week. Sources at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) said the bomb could be planted under the skin of a passenger through surgery.
"We have sensitised our men to look for passengers who have recently undergone surgery. They have been given a set of questions to ask from the suspect passengers. During the questioning of suspected passengers, it can be judged through his behaviour if he is a human bomb or not," said a source in Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the force which is responsible for airport security.
Earlier smugglers used to smuggle contraband by planting it under the skin and now the threat is terrorist group might do the same, say experts. "A normal patient would look like a patient and there wouldn't be behavioural changes during questioning. While a human bomb won't be able to answer questions about his surgery comfortably. To identify a human bomb we are dependent on profiling," the source added.
At this time of threat the security agencies are missing body scanners that were put on trial last year. The scanners were removed after objections were raised by several agencies.
Sources said terrorist groups are considering surgically implanting explosives into people to try to beat enhanced airport security measures. The one factor which is worrying security agencies is the lack of technology to detect plastic explosives under the skin. "We are totally dependent on profiling as even in body scanners you cannot ascertain if the person is carrying explosives," he added.
Many airlines have also started Secondary Ladder Point Checking (SLPC), which is done at the gate of aircraft just before boarding. "Many airlines, including US bound, have started conducted SLPC but it is random," source added.