Hijack policy: Shoot, don’t talk

Hijack policy: Shoot, don’t talk August 15, 2005

Hindustan Times

Adopting tough measures to prevent hijacking, the Government has decided to allow shooting down of an hijacked plane in case there is conclusive evidence that it is being used as a missile like the 9/11 terror attack.

The anti-hijack policy, cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) earlier this week, rules out negotiations with hijackers on their demands and makes it clear that talks will only be aimed at preventing loss of life or ending the incident, official sources said.

The CCS gave its approval to fresh proposals by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, the Indian Air Force and other agencies to tighten existing guidelines in view of the September 11 terror attack in the US and Kandahar hijack in December 1999.

The policy, which provides for death penalty to hijackers, also reduces bureaucratic hassles for getting permission for armed intervention due to shortage of reaction time.

The Indian Air Force has been given the authority to take necessary steps for scrambling fighter jet to guard and guide the hijacked aircraft and force it to land on an Indian airport.

However, a decision in this respect has to be taken by an official of the rank of Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations) or above.

After the hijacked plane is forced to land on an airport in India, all efforts should be made to immobilise it and prevent it from taking off, the sources said.

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