Airport relief for disabled

Fliers with disabilities won't be required to remove their prosthetic limbs and vacate their wheelchairs anymore during security checks at airports across the country.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 14.10.17
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New Delhi, Oct. 13: Fliers with disabilities won't be required to remove their prosthetic limbs and vacate their wheelchairs anymore during security checks at airports across the country.

In an effort to treat such travellers sensitively, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has decided to do away with the "humiliating" practice. Such an exercise will be carried out only in instances where the personnel "suspect anything".

CISF director-general O.P Singh said today that the main objective behind the new rules was to ensure there was no inconvenience to wheelchair-bound passengers or those with prosthetic limbs.

"CISF personnel will carry out checks with hand-held explosives trace detectors in both cases. Only when personnel suspect anything will such passengers be requested to remove their prosthetic limbs or vacate their wheelchairs for checks," said Singh, whose force is in charge of airport security.

Passengers with prosthetic limbs are now asked to remove them and put them through x-ray machines. Likewise, wheelchair-bound fliers are required to leave the chairs for screening during pre-embarkation checks.

Last year, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had constituted a committee to suggest alternative ways of screening and frisking such passengers following several complaints of harassment.

Disability rights activists had asked security agencies to follow the international standard of screening such passengers with explosives detectors.

The committee has suggested that in cases where x-ray screening of the prosthetic limb is required, such passengers should be taken to a private area and made to sit comfortably for taking them off.

"Recently, we had several meetings with all stakeholders, including some disability rights activists, and the BCAS has made necessary changes in the rules. We are going to sensitise our personnel at airports across the country and issue do's and don'ts to facilitate passengers with disability," Singh, the CISF chief, said.

In October 2016, Aditya Mehta, a two-time para-cycling Asian Games medallist, had complained that CISF officials at Bangalore airport had forced him to remove his prosthetic limb.

In September 2015 another para-athlete, Suvarna Raj, had alleged harassment and claimed she was forced to get off her wheelchair during checks at Delhi airport.