On Tuesday, a Sri Lankan website, Colombo Telegraph, published a story about ‘security breach’ at the Madurai airport. The story was picked up by newspapers in India, which claimed that the Sri Lankan Airlines pilot and crew gained entry through a restricted route, and entered the airport without going through security checks.
The video accompanying the story shows the pilot and crew, along with a few other men, walking down a dirt track where a few civilians are standing, and then crawling through a barbed wire fence to get to the other side.
In the background is a high building - which could be the Madurai airport.
But was there a massive security breach?
TNM spoke to the Madurai Airport Director, VV Rao, who denied the reports of a security breach and said that the video in question was shot 2km from the actual airport perimeters.
“We have solid, concrete fencing for the airport which is 800 feet high. There is no way that anyone can enter the airport through the fencing - we don’t have any barbed wire fencing,” he said.
VV Rao added: “The place shown in the video is Perungudi village, which is some 2.2 km from the airport perimeter. One part of the road there is managed by the village and the other part by the Airport Authority of India.”
Since the jallikattu protests were in full swing in Madurai last week, the crew was stuck in traffic. “What they should have done was to contact the airport security, who would have gotten them in safely. Instead, they decided to take the help of the local driver, who took them around through this village and got them to the entrance,” the Airport Director added.
Despite repeated attempts, TNM has been unable to get a reaction from Sri Lankan Airlines, whose pilot and crew went through the fence in question.
Meanwhile, MoS Aviation Jayant Sinha has reacted on Twitter to a person pointing out the alleged breach, saying he will look into it.