Man with prosthesis asked to strip for check at IGI airport

A 45-year-old finance professional with a multinational pharmaceutical company was allegedly asked to strip waist down in front of security personnel at Terminal 3 in Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport on October 8.

The executive, Rajesh Bhatia, a resident of Gurgaon, was headed to Thailand with his wife, two children — aged 12 and 9 — and his mother. He had faced a similar situation on October 31, 2012, in IGIA while he was on his way to Tokyo.

Bhatia reportedly requested CISF personnel to conduct an explosives trace detector (ETD), done with a handheld device, which does not require amputees to strip.

Initially, the CISF asked Bhatia to remove the prosthesis and put it in the baggage scanner. When Bhatia said he would not be able to fix it again, the personnel relented. Nevertheless, he was asked to strip waist down and the ETD was conducted.

Bhatia, claimed that he asked his wife to film the incident for proof of harassment.

Bhatia, who lost his right leg in a bike accident in 1992, said, "When I refused to remove my trousers and put my prosthesis into the luggage scanner, the security staff told me that it was a standard operating procedure."

Bhatia claimed that the CISF personnel appeared confused about checking passengers with disabilities. During the check, he even produced the necessary certificates indicating his disability and also a photograph of him wearing the prosthesis.

DIG (CISF) S K Sinha said, "Our staff asked the passenger to remove the prosthesis. When he said that he would not be able to attach it back, they conducted an ETD. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security has not notified us of any new guidelines for screening disabled passengers, so my staff is justified in following the existing screening procedures."

Asked if the removal of prosthesis was an standard operating procedure, Sinha said, "The security staff at the airport takes a call on whether an ETD has to be conducted or whether the prosthesis has to be removed and scanned."

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