Shoot down hijacked plane, death penalty for hijackers?



New Delhi: With terror threats from skies looming large in the wake of 9/11 in the US, government is likely to amend the existing anti-hijacking law which would arm it with powers to shoot down a hijacked aircraft and providing for death penalty for hijackers.

The issue of amending the law is likely to come up before the union cabinet tomorrow, official sources said.

The amendment will seek to provide a legal backing for any extraordinary move like shooting down an aircraft whose hijack has been established and the hijackers have intentions to target vital installation by using it as a missile like it had happened in New York on 9/11.

The policy also provides for immobilisation of the aircraft and disallowing it to take off if the hijack takes place on the Indian soil.

During the Kandahar hijack in December 1999, 178 passengers and 11 crew members were exchanged for four dreaded terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar who later floated the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). At that time, security forces had failed to immobilise the plane at Amritsar airport.

The Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram, had examined the proposal to amend the existing Anti-hijacking Act of 1982 to cover aspects of conspiracy to hijack an aircraft.

PTI