The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has begun special training exercises to sensitise its personnel — deployed at the airport — regarding passengers with prosthetic limbs.
The training sessions were organised after the CISF, which is in charge of security at airports, received numerous complaints of inconvenience during security checks of such passengers. In some cases, passengers complained that they were made to remove their prosthetic limbs during the checks.
The idea, sources said, is to ensure that passengers with such prosthetic limbs are not harassed and that CISF staff at the airport is sensitised to deal with the problems the passengers face. Patients with such difficulty are invited to be a part of the training programme so that they can make suggestions and give their feedback.
According to CISF sources, passengers with prosthetic limbs have reported harassment at the hands of the staff time and again, and have insisted taking off their prosthetic limbs during checks is an ordeal. Accordingly, from March-end, the CISF inserted a module on passengers with prosthetic limbs in its training programme to ensure that its staff is well-equipped to handle difficulties faced by such passengers.
Sources said in the last week of March, a specialised training workshop was held at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), wherein 40 personnel attended the training. Two patients with such difficulties, along with an orthopaedic doctor, were invited for the training programme between March 28 and 30. The session lasted two hours.
“The session was exclusively dedicated to screening of passengers with prosthetic limbs and problems faced by them. It was part of our soft skills training workshop. Personnel were given an insight into the problems being faced by passengers with special needs and their expectations from the CISF,” a senior CISF officer said. “Such workshops will be organised at different airports to sensitise CISF personnel about expectation of passengers using prosthetic limbs,” the officer added.
Recently, a security alert was issued across airports in the country, warning people that bombs could be smuggled in artificial limbs. Hence, CISF personnel across the county had been directed to conduct thorough checks.
“We inform passengers that the process of asking to remove their prosthetic limbs is only a part of security check and that since BCAS rules are binding, we have to check them accordingly. But some don’t understand and consider this a source of harassment, which makes it difficult for us. Sometimes staff make use of explosive trace detectors (ETD) if they think the passenger is not suspicious and that he or she can be let through. The eventual treatment of passengers is usually decided by staff on duty on any given day,” the officer said.