Delhi, Punjab airports tighten security, bar visitors following SFJ threat

| Updated: 07 November, 2023 8:05 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), India’s regulatory authority for civil aviation, has taken swift action in response to a threat issued by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the founder of Sikhs for Justice (SJF). Pannun released a video in which he threatened to blow up an Air India flight on the day of the ICC World Cup final, scheduled for November 19.

In response to this threat, BCAS has issued an order to airport operators in Delhi and Punjab to cease the issuance of airport entry passes to visitors. The BCAS order, issued on Monday evening, explicitly states, “The issue of temporary airport entry passes for the entry of visitors to the terminal building of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (in Delhi) and the sale of visitor entry tickets will be banned.”

A Delhi airport official confirmed the implementation of the BCAS order, adding, “All temporary airport entry passes except those required for operational work will remain suspended until November 30.”

In light of these security concerns, India has also reached out to Canada, requesting an escalation of security measures for Air India flights. The Indian government has urged Canada to take appropriate action against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun for issuing the threat.

In the video that surfaced on November 4, Pannun was heard warning Sikhs against travelling on Air India flights after November 19. He said, “We are asking all Sikhs to avoid boarding Air India flights on November 19. On that day, there will be a global blockade, and Air India will not be allowed to fly anywhere across the world. Sikhs, you do not travel by Air India after November 19. It can be life-threatening. This is my warning to the government of India.”

The BCAS has cited ongoing threat messages received from central agencies as the basis for this precautionary measure, noting that these threats pertain to “civil aviation installations at airports, airstrips, airfields, air force stations, helipads, flying schools, and aviation training schools across India.”

As part of the enhanced security measures, BCAS has mandated a secondary ladder point check (SLPC) for all Air India flights at 161 airports, including those in Punjab. SLPC is a mandatory check ordered by BCAS that requires airline staff members to conduct additional passenger and hand-luggage frisking after passengers have passed security clearance by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), just before boarding the aircraft.

Furthermore, the BCAS has forwarded its order to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for their attention.

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