India: Additional security at Delhi, Punjab airports after Khalistani group SFJ’s threats


India’s Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has ordered extra security checks for Air India flights in Punjab and Delhi airports after a threat received from the outlawed separatist Khalistani group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ). On November 5, SFJ founder Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a designated terrorist in India, gave a call to the global Sikh community to “stop flying Air India” from November 19.

“We are asking the Sikh people not to fly via Air India on November 19. There will be a global blockade. On November 19, don’t travel by Air India or your life will be in danger,” Pannun said in the video that went viral on social media. He called on the Sikh community to “shut down” the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital on November 19, which coincides with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s birthday.

The BCAS in order copy said, “A 100 per cent SLPC (Secondary Ladder Point Check) for all Air India flights at IGI Airport and airports in Punjab, issue of Temporary Airport Entry Pass (TAEP), entry of visitors to the terminal building of the IGI (Indira Gandhi International) airport (in Delhi) and sale of visitors’ entry tickets will be banned.”
The order was issued on Monday and it has been implemented immediately. The security measures will be in place till November 30.

The order further reads that, “In view of the continuous threat messages being shared by Central security agencies regarding threat to Civil Aviation installations all over India like airports, airstrips, airfields, air force stations, helipads, flying schools, aviation training institutes, it has been decided by the competent authority to extend the restrictions imposed by the Alert issued by BCAS.”

A senior security officer said a high level of alert has been sounded in view of inputs received from intelligence agencies to step up security at airports. “Irrespective of the profile of the caller, we react to all threat calls related to airport security as per standard operating procedure. Although most of such calls are hoaxes, but we respond,” the officer said.

Secondary Ladder Point Checking (SLPC) is a secondary-level security procedure mandated by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) under which the airline staff have to frisk passengers and their hand luggage after the security clearance from the CISF, just before boarding the aircraft.

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