Security at Indian airports is obtrusive, but necessary: AAI chief

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Panaji, Feb 16 (IANS) Security at Indian airports is obtrusive, but nothing much could be done about it in view of threats, Airports Authority of India chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said on Friday.

“Airport security is one of the most comprehensive anywhere in the country. In fact, it is a bit too obtrusive for the passengers, but unfortunately there is nothing much you can do because the security threat and perception are very real in India, for that matter anywhere in the world,” he said.

“European airports for example… five years back, they never believed in gun-toting policemen at airports. But after all the attacks at Heathrow, London, Brussels everywhere else, you go to any European airport you will find almost similar what is there in India,” he added.

Mohapatra also said that Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah’s controversial party meeting at the Goa airport premises in August last year, which led to flak from the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court was “spontaneous” and such meetings are not allowed.

Asked to comment on Shah’s meeting in the secured precincts of Dabolim International Airport, he said: “This is not allowed.

“Matter has been resolved, nothing more to say on that. It was a spontaneous thing, but even that could have been handled better… There are set security protocols on how airport premises are to be used, so no deviations have been done.”

The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday had disposed a petition filed by a city lawyer against Amit Shah for holding a public meeting at the airport, after airport director Bhupesh Negi in a written undertaking had said that “no such occurrence ever takes place under any circumstances and that the airport area and its precincts are not used for any such occurrence”.

The petition had sought a thorough probe into the manner in which the meeting was allowed to be conducted on July 1 at Goa’s Dabolim airport, which functions out of Indian Naval Base INS Hansa.

Questioning the spontaneous nature of the meeting, the Court had raised queries about the presence of a podium, chairs, and music system at the meeting saying these raised doubts.



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