Aditya Mehta, two-time para-cycling silver medallist at the Asian Paralympics 2013, was strip-searched twice within the span of days at the Delhi and Bangalore International airports. The humiliation did not go down well with the para-cyclist, who slammed the authorities for their insensitivity.
Security personnel demanded that Mehta remove his clothes and prosthetic leg at the Delhi International Airport, just days after officials at the Bengaluru airport had asked him to put his belongings, including his prosthetic leg, through the airport scanner.
In a post on social media, Aditya vented his angst at the CISF officers who were in charge of security checks at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and the Kempegowda International airport.
Writing on his Facebook page, Aditya described the humiliating experience at the Bengaluru airport. He wrote, "There cannot be a worse treatment than this for an amputee. On one hand we are trying out best to make lives better for the amputees at Central Armed Forces and on other side there are these uncivil officers who try to put us down. It was really humiliating for me to receive such immoral treatment. I was asked to take off my prosthetic limb and was almost stripped off."
"Dignity of people with disabilities is at stake! After I expressed my distress regarding the harrowing incident at KIA, I realised that I am not alone in this. This has been an issue for many years. Despite many victims' trials to reach out to various departments to have a sensitized system, nothing has changed yet," he added.
His ire was especially directed towards the CISF officials, who he named and shamed in his Facebook rant: "Mr. Thakur, S.C Meena, Pupender Pratap Singh, were those impudent Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officers. The assistant commandant who was the in charge at that time of security also behaved very disrespectfully. Do the differently challenged not have the right to live a normal life?"
Four days later, Aditya went through another harrowing experience, this time at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. And Yet another Facebook post followed: "This is ridiculous! Another bad day! But this time I didn't give them a chance to put me down. Despite all the campaigning since four days, I was again asked to remove my prosthetic leg during security check at the Delhi Airport. A rude Sub-Inspector didn't have the courtesy to talk politely. He was adamant that he is not going to let me go until I take off my prosthetic limb for security check."
He then added, "However, Assistant Commandant Rajeev, who was present at the site was kind enough to tell that they were just following the guidelines given by Bureau of Civil Aviation. He also mentioned that BCAS doesn't have enough funds to have body scanner which could be a sensitised way of checking. How pathetic is that!"
According to the Times of India, officials said that the measures to check Mehta and any disabled person with prosthetic limbs was followed as per the guidelines of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security of India
"The rules do not exempt the screening of prosthesis, so we have no choice but to check them," said a Directorate General of Civil Aviation official.