Saturday, December 6, 2008

Secure the airports

Airports all across the country have been on high alert. Chennai's airport has been no exception. A couple of days ago, the police had begun to check vehicles entering the airport area before allowing them to go near the terminal buildings. Now they have restricted vehicles from even coming close to the buildings; passengers are required to get off around 100m away from the buildings and walk into them. There is an advisory that passengers have to get to the airport at least 3 hours ahead of their flight time. That's a big bummer, especially if you're travelling to Bangalore; another two-and-a-half hours on the road and you'll reach Bangalore... that sounds like an easier way to travel!

The last really serious incident at the Chennai airport was 24 years ago, when a bomb planted by Tamil extremists went off at the airport on the night of August 2-3, 1984, killing 30 people. At that time, it was described as 'an accident'; the nascent Tamil militancy in Sri Lanka was looking for ways to harm and this bomb was to be ferried from Madras to Colombo on an Air Lanka flight and was timed to explode at the Colombo airport. One version has it that the flight was delayed and so the bomb went off at Madras; another version has it that the luggage was misrouted to a London flight and then was not allowed on the plane because they couldn't match it to any passenger, so it remained in Madras airport.

Took this photograph because I spotted the tail of an Air India jet. The police checkpoint was just after this point where we turned left. Looking at the photograph later, I was thinking about how trusting we are - even when we are carrying out all the security checks, we trust that anyone trying stunts would come in, take the left turn and move along the normal road. It certainly wouldn't be too much trouble for a madman to drive straight on from this point and maybe smash through that wall itself!

3 comments:

Tifossi said...

cmon man u dun want to be teachin da terrorists.. scary thought though,, hope the TN police keep up their decent wrk

Ram N said...

i was sure thinking in similar lines when i was in the Intl .airport to see off someone y'day nite .... though there were security, but had the uneasy feeling ....

Shantaram said...

>> Tifossi>> Well the hope is that many people tell the cops about this gap!

>> Ram>> Eternal vigilance coming at the cost of liberty? ;)