Enforce Disabled Friendly Screening Procedures at Indian Airports Security Check Points
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I fly frequently for work, both domestically and internationally from several Indian airports. Each time I pass through the security check points at the airports, I am treated like a criminal because I use a prosthetic limb (artificial leg) for my mobility. I am asked and many a times even forced to strip and to remove my prosthetic. The security staff then picks up my prosthetic limb and puts it on the x-ray machine as if it is a piece of luggage, while I am left immobile and in a state of agony praying that I receive my prosthetic undamaged.
The international norms for checking prosthetic do not require amputees to strip, to remove their prosthetic/artificial limb; nor do they require wheel-chair users to stand up & to not use their own wheel chairs. Shouldn't that be equally easy to implement in India as well?
I understand that the security staff/CISF is simply following the dictates of BCAS, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. I therefore, protest against the human rights violation by BCAS not only on my behalf but also on the behalf of my fellow beings/PwDs, Persons with disabilities- for enforcing the most inhumane and insensitive screening procedures that PwDs are forced to go through at the cost of their physical safety, privacy, dignity and emotional trauma, at the Indian airports.
The dictate of BCAS to the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) at Indian Airports to regard persons with disabilities including amputees like me who use/wear prosthetics such as artificial limb/limbs, a bigger security risk; to ask them to strip and remove their prosthetic and, to make the wheel chair users stand up for thorough checking & not use their wheel chairs - as they all may be carriers of explosives and weapons - is a violation of their human rights of life, liberty, fairness, respect, equality and dignity.
The entire screening procedure for the persons with disabilities and medical conditions, and the insensitivity of the rustic security staff (CISF) at the Indian airports towards them need a makeover. We are living in a human world. These procedures and the rustic security staff got to have a humane face. They need to be sensitized and humanized.
I am asking that CISF treats people with disabilities (including those with medical conditions and limited mobility) with dignity, respect, care & courtesy. I am not asking that the national security & the security of fliers be compromised. I am only asking BCAS to:
1) Enforce mine's and my team's manual- "Screening Guidelines to be followed by CISF Security Staff for Passengers with Disabilities at Indian Airports" and include the manual in the Standard Operating Procedure. Doing so will go a long way in sensitising CISF.
The manual abides by the world class screening procedures for persons with disabilities and medical conditions. It also abides by the language of CRPD and it was composed under the guidance of leading disability experts of India. I had personally handed over the manual to Mr. Ajay Kumar and Mr. O.P. Singh, senior CISF officers, in June, 2014. The manual was approved by the office of CISF in New-Delhi. However BCAS has not incorporated it in its SOP.
2) Install full body scanners (like in U.S.) at Indian airports. The scanners will ensure highest level of security while safeguarding the privacy, safety and dignity of persons with disabilities.
3) Enforce zero tolerance policy for any form of harassment, discrimination and infringement of the privacy, dignity, respect and human rights of PwDs.
My sister Smiti Bhatia and I have written several letters and emails to BCAS and CISF officials, PM Modi, Ashok Gajapathi and several others. However we have not received any response from them.
I am asking for a meeting with PM Shri Narendra Modi, Minister of Civil Aviation Shri P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, and the Director General of BCAS Shri Kumar Rajesh Chandra to discuss with them the difficulties faced by Persons with Disabilities and how we can resolve them.
Sign my petition to ask PM Modi, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Shri Kumar Rajesh Chandra to implement policies and procedures that will make security screening at Indian airports hassle free for Persons with Disabilities.
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