Mumbai: A woman on Friday said she was harassed at the Mumbai airport just last week. Suranjana Ghosh Akira was asked to take off her prosthetic leg and that meant she had to strip.
Suranjana Ghose Akira would strike one as any young successful hardworking professional, which she is. She is also an above knee amputee having lost her left leg to osteosarcoma - a form of bone cancer in 1997.
On July 5, Suranjana went through a harrowing experience at the Mumbai airport when CISF personnel demanded that she remove her prosthetic limb, it would require her to strip waist down. "I was shaken by what I had to go through," she said. Two years ago, a smiliar experience at the Delhi airport had left her shaken, she said.
CNN-IBN has learnt that CISF Mumbai has sent a report to the headquarters stating that they have followed the mandate of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. An expert committee set up the BCAS in 1993 had reccomendd that, "...passengers who are disabled on crutches or use prosthetics are not exempt from normal security procedures. The airport security staff should be thoroughly briefed that the possibility of carrying weapons/explosives and other dangerous materials through such passengers is higher than through a normal person and therefore these passengers need be checked with care."
That was 20 years ago. Technological advancement since allows security personnel like in most airports worldwide to treat the differently abled with dignity while not compromising on security.
Suranjana's story once again brings the question if we as a country are unfriendly to the differently abled. "If I don't get dignity and respect in my own country, it is a huge battle lost," Suranjana said.