An Indian-origin woman traveling from Bengaluru to Iceland with her husband and four-year old daughter was allegedly asked to take off her clothes at the Frankfurt airport by security officials. According to a report in NDTV, the 30-year-old woman was allowed to leave only after her Icelandic husband walked into the room at her insistence. “At the airport, Ms Basappa had stood her ground, refusing to pull up her dress and demanded that her husband be called in. She says the tone and tenor of the officers changed after they saw her Icelandic husband. The strip search quickly turned into a pat down, something she was willing to do much before the whole nightmare,” said the NDTV report.
Shruthi Basappa, reviewed the Frankfurt airport and also put out an angry note on Facebook alleging a case of racial profiling as she was the only person pulled aside and asked to remove her clothing, in spite of having an Icelandic residence permit. “I am always the ‘chosen one’ for random security checks – pat down, baggage check, lets take you into a room for a closer pat down etc,” she wrote.
“I was asked to remove the dress I was wearing. Yes. Remove my clothes. Is this the new norm? Isn’t it enough to always be the one random person picked out of line that now I need to wrap my head around the fact that I might be asked to strip? Do I need to wax my legs? Do I need to carefully put together a special ‘for travel lingerie’ set that has nothing to do with seducing my husband but more about hiding the outrage, anger, humiliation and disgust that is an inevitable part of travelling through airports?”, her Facebook post read.
Basappa said despite the fact she ad already cleared the full body scan, she was asked to move aside. “I was taken into a room, and was asked to lift my dress/ take it off so that I could be checked to make sure I wasn’t ‘carrying anything under my clothes’. This whole ordeal happened in front of my 4 year old. I was given no explanation as to why I was put through this ordeal. I specifically requested for a regular scan, using whatever equipment is in place,” she wrote in her post.
She also requested them for a gentle pat down search as she had recently gone through an abdominal surgery, of which she was carrying proof, but her request was rejected and she was aggressively shouted at by the woman in charge.
She told NDTV that she had already filed a formal complaint at the airport after the incident but hadn’t heard from them since. Earlier in January, another Indian-origin Singaporean woman was humiliated at the same airport by its security staff and was asked to squeeze her breast to prove she was lactating. This happened after the police grew suspicion as she was carrying a breast pump but wasn’t travelling with the baby.