Report: Airports across India on high alert following hijack threat by Kashmir militants

Authorities order heightened security measures after reports of unidentified Kashmiri militant organizations likely to target passenger aircraft.


NEW DELHI_Airports across India were on high alert Wednesday following a hijack threat by Kashmiri separatist militants, news reports said.

Civil aviation authorities ordered the heightened security measures after receiving reports from intelligence agencies that unidentified Kashmiri militant organizations were likely to target passenger aircraft, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

"All airports in the country have been on high alert for the past four days," Maushumi Chakravarty, spokeswoman of the civil aviation ministry, said on the CNN-IBN television channel.

India's civil aviation security officials have ordered tightening of security measures at the airports, including additional checks and searches, Chakravarty said.

"Indian airports are on alert all the time," she said. "What this heightened alert means is that security levels will be stringent with greater scrutiny of passengers and baggage."

Airports across India have been on alert since the July train bombings in Mumbai that killed more than 200 people. A similar alert was issued on Dec. 9, after a warning that a plane flying to the United States might be hijacked by Kashmiri rebels.

More than a dozen Islamic militant groups have been fighting since 1989, demanding Muslim-majority Kashmir's independence from predominantly Hindu India or its merger with Muslim-dominated Pakistan. At least 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have died in the conflict.

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