A security scare at New Delhi's international airport, which saw the terminal locked down for nearly an hour after guards thought they heard gunshots, highlighted jitters after the Mumbai attacks. Police say the situation is back to normal.
AFP - The Indian capital's international airport was the scene of a major security scare overnight Thursday after the sound of gunfire was reported, but police said there was no evidence of any shooting.
"Everything is normal," said Udayan Bannerjee, head of the paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which is responsible for airport security.
The alert came barely a week after the Islamist attacks on Mumbai that resulted in security levels being raised across India, particularly at major facilities like airports.
Bannerjee said CISF personnel had heard "two sounds that appeared to them as gunshots" and sounded the alarm, causing a virtual lockdown at the airport that lasted about 40 minutes.
"There were no eyewitnesses to any gunshots and no rounds were recovered," Bannerjee said, adding that all airport operations were back to normal.
The NDTV, Times Now and CNN-IBN news channels had earlier cited unconfirmed reports of up to three shots being fired from a car near the international terminal.
"We have combed the airport inch by inch and we have found nothing. The same is for the domestic airport. Nothing has happened," said K.R. Singh, the official in charge of the CISF airport control room.
"All our men are still searching but have found nothing. We have no incident," he said.
All major airports -- including Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi -- have been on high alert since Thursday.
The emergency measures were enacted as Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered the armed forces to be on guard against "any terror strikes from the air."
The Press Trust of India news agency said an attack may be timed to coincide with the December 6 anniversary of the destruction of the Babri mosque in northern India by Hindu extremists in 1992.
Date created : 2008-12-05