J&K

Central forces to jointly monitor Srinagar airport

New Delhi: The Centre is all set to tweak security norms at the sensitive Srinagar airport by continuing with Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and deploying Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). CISF will replace Jammu and Kashmir police while CRPF will be responsible for securing the outer perimeter of the airport.

Last year, the Union home ministry had ordered CISF to take over the security at Srinagar airport. But after a recent audit, the ministry has decided to continue with the deployment of CRPF along with CISF, officials said.

A home ministry official told ET, “Considering the high threat perception at the Srinagar airport, it has been decided that CRPF will continue to guard the outer periphery and approach roads while CISF will take over from the Jammu and Kashmir police. CISF has asked for additional logistics which is being sanctioned to them. The force has already been sanctioned and the plan will be operational soon.”

CISF is responsible for security at 61 major airports across the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

There have been numerous attempts in the past to carry out attacks at the airbase, also known as Sheikh-ul-Alam airport. In 2018, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for carrying out fidayeen attack on a BSF camp near the Srinagar international airport.

One BSF assistant sub-inspector was killed and three jawans were injured while two militants were gunned down during the attack. Airport operations had to be suspended due to the gunfight. A similar attempt was thwarted by the security forces in October 2017.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir has three airports — Jammu, Srinagar and Leh.

While Srinagar international airport is considered to be the busiest handling over 2.4 million passengers in 2018, the threat at Jammu and Leh airport is equally high.

“All the three airports in Jammu and Kashmir are equally sensitive. In 2018, it was decided to handover the security of these three airports to CISF but after discussion with Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Intelligence agencies, it was decided to continue with CRPF during the first year since the force has better knowledge about the topography,” said an official familiar with the development.

The official added, “Given the expertise of CISF men in dealing with the passenger, luggage checking and anti-hijacking operations in almost all the major airports of India, the central force is better equipped to handle airports operations and also considered passenger friendly.”

The home ministry last year has further deployed elite National Security Guards (NSG) for anti-terror and hostage crisis in Srinagar. The NSG commandos will aid CISF and CRPF in maintaining security at the Srinagar airport, sources added. (ET)

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