Saturday, October 23, 2021

CISF apologises to Sudhaa Chandran for airport prosthetics trouble

Mumbai: Dancer and actor Sudhaa Chandran, an amputee, in a video statement posted on a social media platform, said she is made to remove her prosthetic limb to clear airport security every time.

On Thursday, the 56-year-old accomplished Bharatnatyam dancer had reached the Mumbai airport to board a flight to Hyderabad when she was asked to remove her prosthetic limb to clear security, said an aviation source. In a video clip posted later, Chandran said: “Every time I go on my professional visits, each time I am stopped at the airport and when I request CISF security officers that please do an ETD (explosive trace detector) test for my artificial limb, they still want me to remove my artificial limb and show it to them.” She added it is “very disheartening and humiliating at times when I am told to show or remove my artificial limb”.

Four years ago, India had amended security norms for disabled passengers, under which their prosthetics or wheelchairs are to be put through an X-ray check only on sufficient reason and justification. Chandran appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene and make airport security less of an ordeal for senior citizens.

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the agency in charge of airport security, issued a public apology and stated under the existent security protocol, “prosthetics are to be removed for security checks only under exceptional circumstances”. The CISF tweeted: “We will examine why the lady personnel concerned requests Chandran to remove the prosthetics. We assure Chandran that all our personnel will be sensitised again on the protocols so that no inconvenience is caused to travelling passengers.”

Nipun Malhotra, a wheelchair user, said: “In 2017, O P Singh, the then director-general CISF, had amended security screening protocol to bring dignity to wheelchair users. Since then, clearing airport security hasn’t been an ordeal. So I was sad to hear about Chandran’s experience.” Communications professional Antara Telang, an amputee, said: “I fly largely out of Mumbai and Bengaluru. My airport experience improved after the security norms were amended a few years ago. Not every security personnel is conversant with these amendments though, in which case, I inform them. Then their superior intervenes and they let me clear security without ordeal.”

23/10/21 Manju V/Times of India

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