At a time when the country is celebrating the achievements of two medallists at Rio Olympics, here we have an athlete who was humiliated not once but twice at airports in India.
Aditya Mehta, who bagged two silver medals at the 2013 Asian Paralympics, was asked to remove his prosthetic leg at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi on August 30 during the security check. They told the athlete they won’t let him off if he didn’t remove the leg.
Mehta, a para-cyclist who has his leg amputated below the knee, faced it for the second time within a week. On August 26, while travelling to Chandigarh from Bengaluru, he received similar treatment at the city’s airport. He said he was almost “stripped” off. He took to Facebook to share both the incidents.
“It was really humiliating for me to receive such an immoral treatment. I was asked to take off my prosthetic limb and was almost stripped off. Do you call this security check? Is this the kind of treatment you give to differently challenged people? These officers are meant to protect our lives not show us reasons to end our lives. A person like me who always tries to look at the brighter side of everything, is today put down terribly!” he wrote narrating his experience at Bengaluru airport.
At the Delhi airport, however, he said that one of the officials was apologetic and told him he was bound by duty to follow the rules laid down by “Bureau of Civil Aviation”.
“I was again asked to remove my prosthetic leg during the security check at the Delhi Airport. A rude Sub-Inspector didn’t have the courtesy to talk politely. He was adamant that he is not going to let me go until I take off my prosthetic limb for security check. However, Assistant Commandant Rajeev, who was present at the site was kind enough to tell that they were just following the guidelines given by Bureau of Civil Aviation. He also mentioned that BCAS doesn’t have enough funds to have body scanner which could be a sensitised way of checking. How pathetic is that!” wrote the cyclist.
Reportedly, Mehta has taken the matter forward and complained to the Central Industrial Security Force about the officers. irports are supposed to have full body scanners so that we are not forced to remove our prosthesis. But when I asked officials at the airports they told me that they did not have the budget to buy such equipment. I have now filed a complaint with the CISF, and have asked them to behave properly with passengers and not put people, especially disabled people, through such turmoil,” he told The Times of India.
However, here’s what Directorate General of Civil Aviation official was quoted as saying, “The rules do not exempt the screening of prosthesis so we have no choice but to check them.”