Security arrangements across the city, especially around the Mumbai International Airport, have been strengthened after a central intelligence agency on Sunday alerted major cities across the country of a possible Kandahar-style hijack attempt by terrorist outfits.
The input specifically states militants may attempt to hijack a Delhi-Kabul Air India flight.
Following the alert, fliers travelling out of Mumbai on Sunday saw long queues at the airport entry points and security check-in counters. Airport officials have warned fliers to be prepared for longer wait before boarding flights.
“At first, intelligence agencies sounded out a specific ‘hijack’ threat about Air India flights plying between Delhi and Kabul. Then, the airline’s Kolkata office received an anonymous call spelling out a similar alert,” said a senior airport security official, requesting anonymity.
Officials added the numbers of armed jawans have been doubled at entry points and watch booths across the domestic and international terminals. On Sunday, officials from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) also revised the position of close circuit television cameras (CCTVs) outside the terminal gates.
Unlike other security alerts that are time-bound, the current measures will be in effect indefinitely, said airport officials.
Although the alert from the central agency specifically stressed on airport security, the city police are taking no chances. Officers on bandobast duty across the city have been asked to be more vigilant.
“The alert has been communicated to all police stations across the city. Nakabandis and patrolling were on in full measure anyway because of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi on Sunday,” said a police officer requesting anonymity.
First-line combat units such as the Quick Response Team and Force One have been kept on standby. Anti-Terrorism Cell policemen have been instructed to gather information on suspected activities.
“For a city like Mumbai, we have to remain alert 24x7 throughout the 365 days of the year”, said a senior police officer.