There has been much discussion --- and it is yet going on --- about the reported attempt to hijack a Bangladesh Biman airliner on its Dhaka-Chittagong-Dubai route. We surely felt relieved when the incident came to an end. The security agencies, including RAB, have revealed the identity of the young man who attempted to hijack the aircraft. His family in Sonargaon has been visited by the police and others, but in such instances families are as surprised as others about the reasons behind the acts of such individuals.

An important explanation which must now come from the airport authorities is how the would-be hijacker, Md. Palash Ahmed alias Mahadi, was able to board the aircraft with a gun. It is understood that he boarded the plane in Dhaka, which raises a question of the efficiency, or lack of it, with which he was subjected to a security check at the airport. There are a number of tiers of security at Hazrat Shahjalal International airport which are impossible to skirt around. So how did this young man board the aircraft? The authorities have initiated a probe into the matter. Citizens will expect a credible explanation from them as early as possible.

Some other questions call for answers as well. The media have been informed that there is something of uncertainty about whether the man had a real gun or a toy pistol on his person. If that is the situation, new questions will come up about the killing of the would-be hijacker. Whether the weapon was real or a simple toy could have been detected through the scanner that forms part of security checks before passengers board an aircraft. How is it that in this case the gun or toy pistol was not detected on the screen? And if he had carried it in his pocket, it would have been caught during the process of physical checks prior to a passenger's entry into the boarding lounge.

The man wished to speak to the Prime Minister. Did he tell the security personnel who kept him engaged in talking exactly what it was he wanted to tell the head of government? What were his demands? And how is it that all other passengers were allowed to disembark from the plane when hijackers generally keep a good number of hostages as they make their demands known?

Aircraft hijackings are today a thing of the past owing to the stringent security measures taken all across the world. That is a good reason why we need to know how this young man took his seat in the Biman aircraft with a weapon and then caused it to make an emergency landing in Chittagong.

By Editor-in-Chief -Enayetullah Khan

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