CISF guards make woman take off salwar

In an incident that has raised eyebrows,the Central Industrial Security Force personnel at the Mumbai airport recently asked a disabled passenger to take off her salwar for security checks because she had metallic braces on her legs.

Written by Shashank Shekhar | Mumbai | Published:March 9, 2009 4:08 am

Humiliated passenger was in wheelchair,with metal braces on her legs; airport detector beeped

In an incident that has raised eyebrows,the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel at the Mumbai airport recently asked a disabled passenger to take off her salwar for security checks because she had metallic braces on her legs.

The incident comes after a Newsline report on how the Mumbai airport has been receiving at least 10 to 15 complaints every month against CISF personnel from passengers because of their overbearing behaviour.

“I’ve never felt so disgusted and humiliated in my life and it was not the first time I was traveling,” said Shruti Paul,who was on her way to Lucknow on a Kingfisher flight last Friday.

According to Shruti,who is polio-affected,she was wearing a caliper on her left leg from ankle to thigh and braces on her right knee.

“The caliper as well as the braces are made of ceramic or plastic and supported by metal,” she said while explaining the reason why the metal detector would beep every time she passed through it.

On account of limited mobility,Shruti was bound to a wheelchair. The CISF guard,according to Shruti,first checked her left leg and enquired what she was wearing. “I even pulled my salwar up a little to show her my caliper but she asked me to take off my salwar in the women’s cubicle which is open ended,” she said,adding,“I even explained that I was wearing knee braces but they would not listen.”

She said her ordeal lasted about 20 minutes. She was made to get up thrice from her wheelchair and was constantly asked to remove her salwar.

“They said I was not cooperating with them. But I did all I could considering heightened security at airports these days. But I could not take off my salwar. I felt like a criminal,” she said while stating that the woman CISF guard,by the name of P Poonam,kept on talking on her mobile phone while she was conducting checks on her. “She even called her colleague who also insisted that I take off my salwar,” Shruti said.

Eventually a senior CISF officer asked the woman guard to let her go. “He asked me to carry a disability certificate the next time I travel and the woman guard had to let me go half-heartedly,” said Shruti.

CISF Senior Commandant,Mumbai Airport,Sanjay Prakash,was not available for comment despite several attempts by Newsline. “While it is mandatory for every passenger to pass the metal detector,such behaviour is unheard of,” said an airport official.

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