Death for hijackers mooted

The GoM, headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram, also cleared including a fresh clause to cover the aspect of conspiracy in hijacking an aircraft, which does not exist in the Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982.

Clause 4 of the Act, which provides for life imprisonment and a fine for hijacks, would now be amended to include death penalty  also, Home Ministry sources said. They said the proposed amendments would be given legal shape with the intent of bringing them before Parliament in the forthcoming Budget Session.
In 2005, the government had unveiled a tough anti-hijack policy under which any hijacked plane, being used as a missile to target vital installations as in the 9/11 terror attack, would be shot down.

Sources said the effort now will be to incorporate these stringent policy provisions in the anti-hijack law.
The policy, cleared five years ago by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), also provides that no negotiations whatsoever would be held with the hijackers on their demands.

These provisions aim at countering situations like the December 1999 hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 which was forcibly taken to Taliban-controlled Kandahar in Afghanistan. Four top Pakistani terrorists were freed in exchange of the passengers, one of whom was killed by the hijackers.

Besides Chidambaram, the meeting of the GoM on aviation security was attended by Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

The policy provides for immobilising an aircraft and not allowing it to take off if the hijack takes place on Indian soil, besides scrambling IAF fighters if the hijacked plane remained in Indian airspace.

As in the case of the 9/11 attacks, any decision to shoot down an aircraft would be taken in extreme circumstances and if the aircraft chose not to identify itself or appeared to have evil intentions of targeting vital installations, sources said.

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