Disability rights activist Virali Modi was left feeling distressed when a CISF personnel at the Delhi airport repeatedly asked her to get up from her wheelchair for security check on Monday. Modi, who suffered a spinal injury in 2006 following which she began using wheelchair, was travelling to Mumbai when the incident occurred. Acknowledging the episode, CISF has ordered an inquiry into the matter.
Sharing her ordeal on social media, Modi tweeted, “‘You have to stand-up for a security checking. Stop doing drama,’ the CISF at Delhi airport said to me.” Along with the post are screenshots of notes she has written explaining what happened at the airport. The 28-year-old had submitted her wheelchair at the check-in counter and had informed the airport authorities about her disability. After which, she was assigned a porter all the way to her seat.
However, as Modi reached the security check, she was asked to stand up by the CISF staff. When she repeatedly told them about her disability, she was asked to wait as the security check personnel went to speak to her senior. “She went behind the curtain citing that she would call an official. She then started saying to another woman that I was doing ‘drama’ and being a ‘dramebaaz’,” Modi told the indianexpress.com.
“YOU HAVE TO STAND UP FOR SECURITY CHECKING! STOP DOING DRAMA!,” – The CISF at Delhi airport said this to me. @jayantsinha @CISFHQrs @DelhiAirport @debolin_sen @BookLuster @guptasonali PLEASE RT – THIS TREATMENT TOWARDS THE DISABLED IS RIDICULOUS pic.twitter.com/WGYFULblUm
— Virali Modi (@Virali01) September 9, 2019
Miffed at their behaviour, Modi confronted the official. “When I made a scene, she told me she was talking about someone else and not me.” As the issue escalated, another woman took over and did the manual check-in and let Modi proceed, she claims. When asked, what may have triggered such a reaction from the CISF security staff, Modi said, “She told the other staff member that I did not look disabled.”
The episode, which lasted for around 20-minutes, left the 28-year-old emotionally drained. Though she was contacted by a senior CISF official Delhi, Arun Singh, who “apologised” and “expressed his regret”, Modi thinks it is not enough. “That is not enough. I want a public written apology because a lot of people with disability have come out and shared their experiences with the CISF.”
CISF spokesperson Hemendra Singh commented on the incident and told indianexpress.com, “Our personnel are properly trained to deal with specially-abled persons. CISF has already introduced measures not to cause any inconvenience to them.” When asked what is being done about the Delhi airport incident, he said that CISF has ordered an inquiry into it.
This is, however, not the first time this has happened with Modi. Back in November 2018, she went through an unfortunate security check that left her hospitalised. “I was at Bombay airport and the woman at the security, to look underneath, pulled my leg so hard that I injured my knee for that and had to be hospitalised because of this.”