High alert ahead of R-Day



MUMBAI: In view of the recent attacks in Pathankot and the President of France attending the upcoming Republic Day celebrations in Delhi, the Mumbai Police is leaving no stone unturned for the safety and security of the city and its citizens.

In a separate notification, the Mumbai police stated that precautions are being taken as drones controlled by remote or controlled aerial missiles may be used by anti-social elements for launching terror attacks in the city.

“We have issued a notification stating a no-flying order in the city for paragliders, balloons, high-risk crackers, kites, high-release objects, flash beams and laser lights aimed at planes, in and around approach funnel of aircraft at city airport. Any person contravening the order shall be punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)” said Sanjay Barkund, Deputy Commisioner of Police (Operations).

The notification comes in light of a recent attack on a defence base in Pathankot allegedly by militants from across the border, i.e.Pakistan. Several military personnel were killed in the siege. Recently, intelligence inputs were received of security threat to flights on the Mumbai-Delhi route.

A security alert has been issued by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for the Delhi-Mumbai air-route, the busiest in the country. Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) are closely monitoring flights between the two cities in the lead up to Republic Day, amid heightened security measures.

The Mumbai airport is secured by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), but the airport receives monthly security audits from the Mumbai police, NSG and Customs. The IB issues alerts during the festive season and national holidays to enhance the existing security arrangements between all the agencies and the police.

As per the circular, passengers have been asked to report three hours prior to their scheduled flights. Although passengers should report to the airport counter 75 minutes before a domestic flight and 150 minutes before an international flight, Air India had issued a circular which said that a recent security alert in the country had resulted in more stringent checks for passengers and baggage at the airport. They thus asked passengers to report three hours before any flights to avoid inconvenience.

Currently, check-in counters for domestic flights close 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time. For international flights, counters shut 60 minutes before departure. Counters for flights (both domestic and international) operating from international terminals close 60 minutes before the scheduled departure of the flight. Boarding gates close 25 minutes before departure.

“Patrolling teams have been formed and nakabandis will be conducted at all strategic locations throughout Mumbai. We have given instructions to conduct a thorough checking of baggage at malls and cinemas. We have given instructions that trained guards should be deployed at cinemas, malls on every entry point and security gadgets like DFMD, HHMD and baggage scanners should be in place for checking. Additional CCTV cameras have been installed at vital locations in the city. Additional manpower has been deployed which will monitor any suspicious movements. State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) will also be manning at all strategic locations along with the Mumbai Police,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, Mumbai Police spokesperson.

REPORT: Kainaz Choksey
PIC: SM Kabeer/MM