MHA adamant on handling airport security


Civil Aviation Ministry may want a dedicated force under its control to man airport security but the Union Home Ministry is opposed to the proposal, expressing fear that a force under civilian control could lead to “unionism” and “questionable” standard of discipline.

The demand for a dedicated airport security force was renewed by Civil Aviation Ministry recently after the incident in Karipur (Kozhikode) airport in Kerala where one CISF personnel was killed following a scuffle with airport staff.

Security sources said the Home Ministry and the CISF, which is presently guarding airports across the country, are against such a move saying it would be detrimental to the whole security scenario in the country and they have opposed it.

The Home Ministry’s argument is that CISF is a central paramilitary force and it has established mechanisms of intelligence sharing through agencies like Multi Agency Centre (MAC) and Subsidiary Multi Agency Centre (SMAC). A new force under a different Ministry, sources said, would find this “extremely difficult” to replicate

Emphasising that establishment of any institution has a long gestation period, the official argued that the CISF over the years established itself as a dedicated aviation security force. Any change in this set up would set the “clock back by more than a decade” and expose these vital and sensitive installations to “unwarranted situations and threats”, it said.

It said airports require a “well-trained, competent, professional and disciplined” force due to prevailing threat scenario.

“Any proposal for a separated dispensation like the ASF would fall short on many counts. As a separate component under civilian control, the standard of discipline would be questionable. Unionism too would be an issue any strike at the Airports would be a bad scenario,” the official warned.

An aviation security force under a different ministry would find it difficult to “act optimally” due to co-ordination issues. CISF being part of Home Ministry would be able to ensure real time response thorough collaboration with other agencies, which also fall under its jurisdiction.

Security sources also said CISF has already achieved standardisation in implementation of aviation security rules and procedures across the country, which was “totally” lacking earlier.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on June 27, 2015)


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