“Please lie down on the floor and don’t move,” went the announcement on the loudspeaker, “There has been a suspected terrorist attack outside the airport.” People hit the floor wherever they were.
It was 1.10 am, peak hour for international flights.
The CISF personnel on duty at the Indira Gandhi International Airport had reported hearing two gunshots. Just 15 minutes later, a Toyota Qualis shot out of the area in front of the arrival terminal. It sped past the security barricades, and the sentries manning them. And was off into the night before the Quick Reaction Team could catch up in its Gypsy. That’s the last that was seen of the vehicle.
The airport went into high alert. Power supply was shut, all gates were closed as security personnel and NSG commandos combed the airport. They didn’t find anything or anyone suspicious and an all-clear was sounded around 2 am.
This was not a terrorist strike, but neither was it a bomb-hoax or a security drill. The police suspect the Qualis was on the airport premises for 15 minutes, and the occupants fired the shots and fled. A case has been registered.
But for those at the airport, it looked like their worst fears had come true. “After the Mumbai attacks, everyone is afraid of something similar happening here,” said Leena Vashisht, an Asiana Airlines employee, who was there. “The (gunshot) sounds were quite loud.”