General News

DU professor with disability harassed at Hyderabad airport

NEW DELHI: Yet another disabled passenger was harassed at the airport on Friday. Satendra Singh, who was travelling from Hyderabad to Delhi, was asked by security at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to remove his leg brace during frisking. Singh, who teaches at the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi University, has post-polio residual paralysis and uses a knee-foot-ankle-orthosis (KFAO) also called a caliper or brace, for support.

The confrontation with security officials — the latest in a string of such encounters between differently-abled passengers and airport officials — lasted about 20 minutes before the officials capitulated. "They wanted me to remove the caliper and run it through the x-ray machine," says Singh, "In my case that's quite difficult as it goes up to the thigh. I would've had to remove my trousers to take the caliper off. It was humiliating. I wanted them to carry out an Explosive Trace Detector (ETD) test and was willing to let them frisk me."

Singh, ironically, was returning from a conference on "Evidence in Global Disability & Health" in Hyderabad. Employees of the airline were also called but a senior officer finally permitted a ETD. Singh also had to explain that what he uses isn't a prosthetic limb but an orthosis into which he has to place his leg for support.

"We are merely implementing guidelines issued by the Bureau Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). Our officers have been trained and briefed on how to deal with differently-abled passengers and we make sure nobody is harassed unnecessarily," said Hemendra Kumar, spokesperson, CISF. Singh, however, adds that he flies within India frequently but has never had to face this before.

Aviation security officials say people with medical implants won't face any trouble and simply need to show a medial certificate. However, there is no standard rule for those with external aides and a doctor's certificate may not be enough to clear security.

"The screening officer has to be satisfied that the external aides are for genuine use. For this, profiling is done and if the screening officer is not satisfied, he or she may ask for the aides to be taken off and screened. In the 1980s, a Delhi-Srinagar flight was hijacked by a person who hid weapons inside his plaster and carried a doctor's certificate for the same to clear security. We cannot take chances as a medical certificate can be easily obtained. We regret the inconvenience caused to anyone," said an official.


Additional Information

Country: India
Website: N/A
Email: N/A
Phone: N/A
Contact Person: N/A
When: 27/2/2014

Last modified: Friday, 07 February 2014 15:02:57 Valid XHTML 1.1