Delhi airport firing:'No terror attack'

deepak pace

New Delhi: A security scare at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport in the early hours of Friday triggered panic among passengers and sent security officials into a tizzy.

However, the police have ruled out the possibility of it being an attempted terror strike.

The chaos began when a sound similar to gunshots were reportedly heard from the facility.

The control room of the CISF received a call at around 1.10 am IST from passengers that they heard sound of gunshots from one of the gates of international departure lounge of the airport.

The security was immediately stepped up but police could not ascertain the cause and the nature of firing. "We received a call that some passengers heard a sound similar to two gunshots, but there were no eyewitnesses. No evidence has so far come up to suggest that it was a firing and we cannot confirm it as a gunshot," DIG, CISF Udayan Banerjee said.

Soon after, a white Toyota Qualis vehicle tried to approach the arrival terminal from the wrong side.

It also sped past the security check at the exit gate. Reports also suggest that the men driving the Qualis may have fired the gunshots.

When asked if the number plate was noticed, DIG, CISF Udayan Banerjee said they weren’t sure about that but said the vehicle reportedly bore a Haryana registration number.

All exit gates were immediately closed and intensive search operations were launched. The arrival and departure of flights was temporarily suspended following the incident but resumed shortly after.

Banerjee added the passenger movement was normal and arrival and departure was also functioning smoothly, "After the sound, the CISF and Delhi Police deployment swung into action and intensified the checking at the airport”.

Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, "a call was received that three to four rounds of firing has taken place at the airport but no one was injured. We are not yet sure whether any firing actually took place. We are verifying the facts," he said.

CISF officials said all preventive measures have been taken and a security drill has been put in place.

Airports across the country were put on high alert on Thursday in the wake of intelligence reports that terrorists from Pakistan or Afghanistan may strike using a hijacked aircraft even as the Indian Air Force said it was ready to counter a 9/11-type aerial attack on New York.

Additional contingents of CISF and police inside and outside the Delhi airport has already been deployed, authorities said.

Senior CISF personnel have also arrived at the scene, he said.

Reports suggested that it could also have been a mock drill, but senior officials of the CISF denied it.