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CISF to ensure dignified treatment to differently-abled passengers

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Passengers using wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs or suffering from other kinds of physical disabilities may soon get a “dignified” security treatment at the airports as the CISF is mulling doing away with cumbersome procedures of frisking and using some smart gadgets instead. The CISF, the force tasked to secure 59 civil airports of the country, convened a meeting of some eminent differently abled achievers along with other stakeholders in airport security like the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the ministry of civil aviation to chart a new plan of action to ease the problems faced by numerous such air travellers.

A senior official, who was part to the meeting, said that CISF director general (DG) O P Singh assured the travellers – including activist Javed Abidi and para-cyclist Aditya Mehta – that the force will take all steps so that they get a “dignified and happy feeling of being an air passenger.”

Singh noted that while in other countries a normal passenger has to take out a number of things on his body before frisking, as compared to a differently-abled passenger, it is the other way round in India. “The DG said that this has to change,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

The meeting, the official said, was convened by Singh in the wake of various incidents where these category of passengers have complained about the rude behaviour of the security personnel and the cumbersome and painful procedures they have to undergo every time they reach an airport to take a flight. “I have travelled across the globe for so many years now, but only at an Indian airport I have to get down from my wheel chair so that the security personnel on duty can put it inside a large x-ray machine to check it against explosives and other hazardous material that can be threat to the aircraft or aviation security,” said Abidi, convener of the Disabled Rights Group.

Abidi said that he and others put across various problems to the aviation security officials, they faced while taking a flight. It is very difficult and embarrassing, he said, for people who have prosthetic or artificial limbs to take out the entire part in full public view inside an airport. “The CISF and other security agencies need to take care of such passengers. I am happy that the CISF chief is sensitive to these issues. We hope something good comes out after this meeting,” Abidi said.

The CISF may bring out certain new security instructions for its airport staff so that they use modern security tools such as explosive trace detector (ETD) and security gloves to frisk this category of passengers, officials said. “All the stakeholders in airport security will be consulted and subsequently the way forward will be decided,” the official said. The CISF is the central paramilitary force that is tasked to guard 59 civil airports in the country and the government has recently made it clear that it will be empowered to guard all such facilities in the years to come.