‘Can’t treat disabled fliers like criminals’

“This proves that the government assumes all disabled fliers are criminals. We understand security concerns, but the government should invest in advanced scanning systems to ensure fliers don’t have to publicly strip every time they travel,” said Nilesh Singit, cofounder of the Able Disable All People Together (ADAPT), an advocacy group that campaigns for equal rights for the disabled.

Recent circular making depositing artificial limbs compulsory upsets differently-abled commuters

MUMBAI: With none of their suggestions being included in the revised circular on security screening of differently-abled fliers at the airport, an advocacy group working for their rights plans to club the matter with a petition on flying rights of cerebral palsy patients.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security’s (BCAS) revised circular issued on March 28 held that disabled passengers will have to deposit their artificial limbs at the airport security holds every time they set out to fly.

After the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) directive on the subject last month failed to protect their interests, the move has come as another blow for the fliers.

After Jeeja Ghosh, a frequent flier suffering from cerebral palsy, was offloaded from a Spicejet flight because the crew allegedly assumed she was unfit to fly owing to her appearance, she had filed a public interest litigation on the issue in 2012. The group will club the screening issue concerns with the PIL.

IN THE PAST

Several airports in foreign countries use advanced scanners wherein disabled passengers can be screened without removing their artificial limbs.

“This proves that the government assumes all disabled fliers are criminals. We understand security concerns, but the government should invest in advanced scanning systems to ensure fliers don’t have to publicly strip every time they travel,” said Nilesh Singit, cofounder of the Able Disable All People Together (ADAPT), an advocacy group that campaigns for equal rights for the disabled.

Some members of the fraternity are hoping for a positive outcome. Delhi-based frequent traveller Rajesh Bhatia, an above-knee amputee, raised his concerns at the workshop held by airport security personnel in the capital on March 30. “Senior officials from the BCAS and the Central Industrial Security Force are open to re-considering our suggestions,” said Bhatia.

The senior executive with a multi-national firm was made to strip at the Delhi airport thrice in February.

Hindustan Times

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