15-day ban on paragliding in Mumbai

Staff Reporter

Mumbai: Following the general alert of a likely terror attack using para gliders by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Mumbai police have banned paragliding for 15 days and strengthened security for the Republic Day.

Addressing the media after a police briefing on Monday, Police Commissioner D. Sivanandan said: “Around 42,000 [officers] will be deployed. We have called for five additional companies of the State Reserve Police Force. Paragliding has been banned for 10 to 15 days. We have issued notices to organisations [providing paragliding facilities and training] to suspend the practice of the sport for 15 days.”

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and order) Himanshu Roy said: “We have thought from all angles. Intelligence reports are collected, analysed, and disseminated. We are being very, very careful. However, revealing our strategy would be inappropriate. Force One [a crack team for combating terrorism] and the NSG [National Security Guard] hub have been put on alert and will be deployed if need be.”

‘No special measures’

Defence spokesman Captain Manohar Nambiar told The Hindu over phone that there were “no special measures” by the Air Force in response to the para-glider threat.

He said regular air surveillance of the Defence arm would be in place. “If it is a power glider, which makes a lot of noise, the radar would be able to detect it. A visual watch would be the best thing.”

Meanwhile, Jennifer Menezes of a paragliding school said that while her institute had not received a formal notice, it had decided not to fly till January 27, heeding media reports about the terror alert.

Institutes have said that the sport is primarily practised at the paragliding destination Kamshet, about 100 km. from Mumbai. “There is no possibility of flying a glider in Mumbai. There are no suitable heights and too many hazards.”

Some remained sceptical to the feasibility of such an attack itself. “It is impossible for the glider to run with any dead weight [of inanimate objects]. One has to manage oneself along with the weight of the parachute,” said a glider who did not wish to be named.

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