Rights

Wheelchair-Bound Woman Forced to Stand for Security Check at Mumbai Airport

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha has asked CISF to look into the matter.

New Delhi: Minister of state for civil aviation, Jayant Sinha responded to a Twitter post by a woman with disability who alleged that she was forced to stand up from her wheelchair by CISF staff at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Airport for a security check despite insisting she was unable to and repeatedly denying their request

Twenty seven-year-old Virali Modi took to Twitter describing her experience during her Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to London on Tuesday. She claimed that the “insensitive” CISF security personnel forcibly lifted up her legs even after scanning her wheelchair multiple times – causing her legs to cramp.

“She kept forcing me to stand up and then she went on to say that she’d lift me up and get someone else to pat my backside,” she complained.

According to her Twitter post, “The cramp was so painful, that her leg went into a spasm which made it cramp even more.” She expressed that she wanted to file a complaint about the way she was treated, but no senior staff was available.

“Every other international airport has chemical strips to check the wheelchair and shoes, a disabled passenger doesn’t need to get out of her wheelchair. So why in Mumbai’s International Airport?” she added.

Jayant Sinha responded to Virali’s post, saying that he was “really sorry” for the suffering she had to endure. He further asked officials of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to investigate and redress the matter.

CISF staffs airport security at Mumbai airport. It reacted on its official Twitter handle, saying the woman staffer “was carrying out mandatory pre-embarkation security check and she was polite too during interaction”.

“On seeing the lady concerned, CISF officers arrived at the spot, pacified her and explained the situation,” it added.

CISF officials said Modi was asked to move to a nearby frisking area at the airport as her wheelchair was large and could not be scanned in the x-ray machine, but they denied any forceful or rude conduct by the security personnel who cleared the passenger to board the flight.

Responding to CISF’s claims that the security check was carried out according to procedure, Modi said they were spreading lies and were, indeed, rude and impolite. “You’re trying to prove that I’m wrong. Please check the CCTV camera footage from yesterday from 12am until 2:30am,” she posted.

Modi, who described herself as a disability rights activist on Twitter, said the incident was not about a woman not understanding a woman’s trouble, but about human rights.

“Forget about a woman not understanding, this is basically about human rights and disability rights. This is not how a disabled passenger should be treated. Simple,” she said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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