Flight operations resumed at the Karipur international airport in Kerala after an over 6-hour shutdown following Wednesday night's violent clashes between the Central Industrial Reserve Force and the Airport Authority of India personnel that left a jawan dead, prompting the authorities to book 15 people for murder.
Senior officers from the civil aviation ministry, directorate general of civil aviation, the bureau of civil aviation security, the AAI and the security directorate have been rushed to the airport to take stock of the situation, official sources said.
Kerala Home minister Ramesh Chennithala said an inquiry has been ordered. Forensic officials went to the Karipur airport near Kozhikode to probe the shooting incident in which CISF jawan Jaipal Yadav was killed.
Airport director Janardhanan said that operations have become normal with two Air India Express flights from the Gulf landing on Thursday morning.
The airport was temporarily shut down after the clash between CISF and fire department officials of the AAI following an argument over frisking of some personnel.
Malappuram Superintendent of Police Debesh Kumar Behara told PTI that cases have been registered against 15 persons under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and 10 Fire and RescueService personnel of AAI have been "detained".
"The situation is normal. We are providing all support to maintain peace," he said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in New Delhi that he had spoken to the CISF director general with regard to the incident.
A large posse of police personnel has been deployed at the airport and CCTV footage of the incident is being scanned as part of the investigation. Videos showed CISF and fire officials tearing down photo frames and banging doors with their feet.
"As of now, full normalcy has been restored so far as operations at the airport are concerned....The matter is being looked into," an official release said.
The normalcy at the airport was restored by 02.15 am and flight operations commenced at 6:20 am hours, the release said. According to the release, at around 9:30 pm on Wednesday night, an altercation between the CISF and fire personnel of AAI sparked violence.
"In the ensuing scuffle, a firearm belonging to a CISF personnel went off killing a CISF head-constable while the official who was holding the firearm sustained burn injuries on hand and he is hospitalised. The scuffle continued for some time," it said, adding as a precaution five flights were diverted, which landed back after operations resumed.
The AAI has around 150 employees posted at this airport, with 40 of them from the fire services department. A senior police official told PTI that at least 11 CISF and fire force personnel were 'removed' from the airport on Wednesday night to prevent further trouble.
Anil Bali, CISF commandant, said they will fully cooperate with police investigations. "The police is investigating the case. They are doing their job very well. We are brothers in uniform. I am sure they will do whatever is best in a professional manner. They have do their duty. Law will take its own course," he said.
Passengers, who witnessed the violence, alleged that following the death of their colleague some CISF men went on rampage, chasing away passengers and other officials brandishing batons.
They were also reports about CISF personnel and the fire force vehicles blocking the runway on Wednesday night.
Image: The Kozhikode airport after the incident. Photograph: ANI