NEWS: Modi Govt. prepares new Anti-Hijacking bill, wants death for hijackers and conspirators

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The Modi sarkar wants the death penalty not just for hijackers but also for those found abetting such people or helping them in any way. Included in the 100-day agenda of the Ministry of Civil Aviation is a new Anti-Hijacking Bill 2014, which proposes the death penalty for hijackers for the first time, an official source told.
Not just the death penalty, the very scope and meaning of the term "hijack" will be also be amended. As of now, a hijacker only gets a life term and a fine but not death penalty.
"We want death penalty for hijackers and their aides besides punitive steps like confiscating their assets and property. And we are also proposing an amendment in the definition of the word 'hijack'. Not just in the air, taking control of an aircraft illegally even when it is on ground or through remote control should be treated as hijack and suitable punishment should be given to such people. We are making these provisions in the new Anti-HIjacking Bill of 2014 which will be drafted as part of the ministry's 100-day agenda," said this source.
The bill will be drafted within the next three months, this source said, after the Prime Minister's Office approves of its broad contours.
But several other crucial decisions need to be taken when dealing with a hijack situation: will India adopt a no-negotiation policy with hijackers? Will it agree to shoot down a hijacked aircraft instead of allowing it to take off from Indian soil? What about the human angle: should saving lives on board take priority over killing hijackers or shooting down a hijacked aircraft?
During the infamous 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. Will the new legislation specifically provide for immobilisation of such an aircraft and shooting it down if there are fears of it being used as a missile?
The UPA government was also keen on enhancing punishment for hijacking and putting in place several other norms to be followed in case of a hijack. As per media reports of 2010, the Manmohan Singh government accorded cabinet clearance for such a proposal, five years after it was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, but the bill was never passed by the Parliament.
Giving hijackers the maximum punishment possible is a welcome move but other criticial issues we have detailed above also need to be urgently addressed.
Meanwhile, as part of the same 100-day agenda, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked CISF (the security force which mans 59 of India's 94 operational airports) to set up a helpdesk at each airport to address passenger grievances at the spot.
- FirstBiz

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