NEW DELHI: A bill that proposes the death penalty for hijackers and gives security forces the right to shoot down an aircraft which may be used as a missile was Wednesday introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
The bill was introduced in the house amid din, as opposition members continued to protest over the religion conversion issue, and pressed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assure the house over the issue.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju withdrew the older version of the bill, and introduced the Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
The new legislation to amend the anti-hijack law has been brought to incorporate latest global treaties like the Beijing Protocol, 2010, of the UN body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which have been signed and ratified by India.
The protocol, which provides for stringent measures to deal with civilian aircraft being used as a weapon of mass destruction by terrorists, was brought about after incidents like the hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999 and the Sep 11, 2001 terror strike in the US.
The bill also gives powers to concerned agencies and security forces to immobilise an aircraft and allow the Indian Air Force to scramble its fighters to intercept a hijacked aircraft and force it to land.
A hostile plane could also be shot down if there was evidence that it could be used as a missile to hit a vital installation.