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Law enforcement agencies collect personal info of pilots, airline officials

  • Published at 09:55 am December 8th, 2017
  • Last updated at 04:39 pm December 8th, 2017
Law enforcement agencies collect personal info of pilots, airline officials
Law enforcement agencies have begun collecting the personal information of domestic airline pilots working for the national flag bearer and private airlines in Bangladesh. The personal data of airline employees and those who have airside access is also being collated as part of an initiative to bolster security, civil aviation officials said. The move follows the arrest in October of four people, including a first officer of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, on suspicion of plotting to use a plane to commit an act of sabotage. “The information of pilots and airline officials is being collected for security purposes,” Civil Aviation Additional Secretary Abul Hasnat Md Ziaul said. “A database will be created so there is nothing to be worried about.” Helicopter pilots, co-pilots, cabin crew, engineers, airport officials and employees, who have civil aviation passes to enter airport premises, have been ordered to fill out forms detailing personal information. The information covers family and educational background, information related to property, bank accounts, details of relatives and professions, and political ideology, among other things. This information is then being verified by detectives. Captain Sajjadul Haque, general secretary of Bangladesh Airlines Pilots Association, said: “This process of collecting information is nothing new to us. When we joined the service, we provided personal information for police verification. “At that time, such comprehensive information was not collected. Hence, there is no reason for pilots to object to giving their personal information. Everyone wants to ensure a safe work environment.” A pilot who declined to be named said he had no objection to providing his personal information for security purposes, but said it is important to ensure that the information remains secure. “The process of collecting information must not create a concerning situation. This will lead to an uncomfortable situation among the pilots and others,” he said. The pilot said it was also necessary to ensure that the pilots’ families were not harassed during the verification process. US-Bangla Airlines CEO Imran Asif warned against the possible impact on the mental health of the pilots undergoing the background checks. “Security is the top priority so collecting information for this purpose is important,” he said. “However, pilots need to be stress-free in order to work. Creating a situation which could increase their mental stress would not be right.” Ministry sources said the initiative was being taken following the advice of law enforcement agencies. On October 30, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Biman first officer Amam Sabbir and three others on militancy charges. The men were allegedly planning acts of sabotage using a plane. The previous month, RAB had raided a house in Mirpur’s Darus Salam owned by Sabbir’s father, Habibullah Bahar Azad, where militant Abdullah was staying with his two wives, two children and two associates. Habibullah and the building’s guard, Sirajul Islam, were detained on charges of being directly involved in militancy.  Sabbir’s mother, Sultana Parvin, cousin Asifur Rahman and tea stall owner Md Alam were also detained. This article was first published on Bangla Tribune
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