Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Air India’s insistence on security scanning of mortal remains causing distress: Community leaders

Air India’s insistence on the mandatory security scanning of mortal remains before transporting it back to India has been causing distress, with community leaders ruing that the process at times is insensitive to their religious and cultural values.

Government officials, familiar with the process of transportation of mortal remains and airport security in the US, have said that Air India is the only airline to be insisting upon security scanning of mortal remains. ”Except for Air India, no other airline does this scanning,” a senior government official said on condition of anonymity, adding that there is no such mandatory provision in federal manuals and American airport security protocols.

A significantly large number of Indians wear rings in their fingers or jewellery, mostly in case of women, which because of religious and cultural reasons are not removed after death. As a result, the mortal remains of the deceased gives a security alert during the scanning process.

In most of these cases, Air India security officials insist that they be removed, for which the body is taken back to the funeral home to do the needful like the removal of rings or other jewellery.

In some cases, it has come to the notice that Air India security officials insist on removing a dhoti or a saree (ethnic wear), which many times are gold-plated or carry some metals, before it can be allowed to be transported through the cargo section of the plane. This many a times has resulted in a delay in transportation and also comes with an additional cost of keeping the body in mortuary.

”This is nothing less than shocking that our own Air India does things that are religious and culturally insensitive,” said US-based social activist Prem Bhandari, who has written a letter to the Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola on the issue.

”On reaching out to the local authorities in DHS (Department of Homeland Security), I was surprised to learn that the US does not mandate TSA (Transportation and Security Administration) to scan any human remains in cases of death due to natural causes for any destination country or airline,” Bhandari said.

29/09/20 PTI/Financial Express

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment