New Delhi: An Indian Paralympic medallist was stripped at two airports recently when security personnel asked him to remove his prosthetic leg and clothes. Aditya Mehta, a para-cyclist who is an above-the-knee-amputee and also the winner of two silver medals at the 2013 Asian Paralympics, was asked to remove his prosthetic leg at the Bangalore and Delhi airports.
Four days earlier, Mehta, a para-cyclist who is an above-the-knee-amputee, was allowed to board a flight only after putting his belongings, including his prosthesis, through a scanner at Bengaluru. He had gone there to promote the Aditya Mehta Foundation that works with differently-abled sportspersons. Mehta narrated his experiences through a series of posts on social media. "This is ridiculous. Another bad day. Despite all the campaigning since four days, I was again asked to remove my prosthetic leg during security check at the Delhi Airport,'' he said.
"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." Mehta said that it was really humiliating for him to receive such treatment. "…Is this the kind of treatment given to physically-challenged persons?'' he said in a post addressed to civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju. "I am usually not perturbed by such behaviour, but the attitude with which I was forced to remove my limb put me down terribly."
Mehta has called for increased sensitivity at airports towards differently-abled passengers. "Airports are supposed to have full body scanners so that we are not forced to remove our prosthesis,'' he told to reporters. "But when I asked officials at the airports they told me that they did not have the budget to buy such equipment. I have now filed a complaint with the CISF, and have asked them to behave properly with passengers and not put people, especially disabled people, through such turmoil."
Officials maintained that the screening process Mehta was put through was in accordance with the guidelines of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security of India (BCAS). "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. "While there is an ongoing discussion on whether a prosthetic limb should be checked with or without removing it, the BCAS is yet to take a final decision on the same.''