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Airports on high alert after Air India gets hijack threat

Airports on high alert after Air India gets hijack threat

Kolkata/New Delhi: Security at airports across the country has been tightened as a hijack threat was made by an anonymous caller to the Air India office in Kolkata.

An anonymous telephone call forewarning that an Air India plane would be hijacked was made to the city office of the state-owned carrier, police said on Saturday.

A senior Kolkata police official said, it was a brief call in Bengali threatening that an Air India flight would be hijacked. The official, however, did not specify which flight would be targeted.

The official said that the local police station has been informed.

City Police Commissioner Surajit Kar Purakayastha told PTI that "a call was received at Air India office today. Though such calls are quite common, still we are looking into it quite seriously. There is nothing alarming".

Security agencies are taking it very seriously as the threat has come at a time of heightened tension — Kolkata port was on alert in November last year and only two days ago, a suspicious vessel from Pakistan blew up after being challenged by the Coast Guard in the Arabian Sea.

An Air India spokesperson here said the call was received by its officials at the city booking office at around 5.40 PM and a complaint was subsequently lodged with the Bowbazar police station in central Kolkata.

"The Bureau of Civil Aviation has been contacted and all standard precautionary measures have been taken. Flight operation is normal from Kolkata," the spokesperson added.

Senior officials of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), CISF and AAI held a meeting in Kolkata Saturday night to review the security measures.
BCAS immediately ordered airports across the country to strengthen security. The National Security Guard is being kept in the loop and sky marshals have been deployed on aircraft.

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