IAF wants ‘SOG cover in sensitive villages’ around Srinagar Airport

The Indian Air Force (IAF) authorities at the Srinagar “International” Airport have sought “heightened presence” of J&K Police in “sensitive villages” circling the airfield, citing security reasons, officials told Greater Kashmir on Friday.
IAF wants ‘SOG cover in sensitive villages’ around Srinagar Airport
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The Indian Air Force (IAF) authorities at the Srinagar "International" Airport have sought "heightened presence" of J&K Police in "sensitive villages" circling the airfield, citing security reasons, officials told Greater Kashmir on Friday.

A senior official said the matter was taken up by senior officials of the IAF with the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Asgar Samoon, during a meeting recently.

"They (the Air Force officials) sought heightened presence of J&K police's Special Operation Group (SOG) in sensitive villages around the airport while referring to the Pathankot attack," said the official.

On January 2 this year, militants attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, a part of the Western Air Command. The gunfight between the forces and militants continued till January 4, resulting in killing of 14 persons including seven security personnel, six militants and one civilian.

The Srinagar Airport is under the direct operational control of the IAF which controls its air traffic and landing strip and also the facilities of fire-fighting and crash activities, apart from the airspace. The terminal building where the passengers check-in and check-out and the apron area, where an aircraft is parked, is however controlled by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The airport, surrounded by dozens of villages and fruit orchards, is situated at a distance of 12 km from Srinagar. Under the constant watch of the IAF, the airport is spread over more than 65 acres of land.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir admitted that the Air Force has sought deployment of police at "some sensitive places" around the airport.

"If they (IAF) formally write to me I will then take up the issue with the Inspector General of Police (Kashmir)," said Samoon

He however said as per fresh notification, at least 100 meter area around the airport and 900 meter around any ammunition depot has been declared as "no-built zone."

District Development Commissioner Budgam, Mir Altaf, said the Government would consider the IAF request on deployment of police (around Srinagar Airport villages).

He said the IAF was considering increasing the runway and some other facilities at the airport. In that case, the DC said, the Air Force would require sanitizing "some more area".  

He said different agencies including J&K Police, BSF, CRPF and the IAF handle the security of the airport.

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