A Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer “punished” a 10-year-old air passenger by forcing him to stand outside the security checkpoint for more than an hour at the Bagdogra airport in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district.
The reason: the child did not follow the security check drill.
The SpiceJet (flight SG 882) passenger, Abhishek Sharma, who was travelling with his parents on June 3, stepped out of the security hold area to fetch a food packet he had left behind at the airport restaurant after his boarding pass was stamped.
When he tried to enter the security area again, CISF inspector M.K. Mishra snatched away his boarding pass. Abhishek kept sobbing and pleading to him, but Mishra wasn’t moved. Even senior Spicejet and airport officials failed to persuade him.
Soon after the incident, an angry airline operating committee at the airport, comprising representatives of Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher, SpiceJet and Druk Air, reported the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), demanding action against Mishra.
The committee wrote to the DGCA that despite all the airline representatives intervening, the child was punished by Mishra.
The letter said, “This problem is one of the incidents that keep happening at this airport.”
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has also joined the fray.
“It was an unfortunate incident. I’ve sent my report to the Airport Authority and the inquiry is on,” Bagdogra airport director K.K. Bhaumik said.
He said according to the Bureau of Civil Aviation’s security circular, a passenger could go out of the security hold area after his boarding pass stamp was cancelled.
He could be allowed to enter after fresh security check and stamping of his boarding pass.
An airport official, who did not want to be quoted, said, “Bagdogra is a hyper-sensitive airport. One fails to understand how could the boy come out of the security area without the knowledge of the CISF personnel. It’s a case of security lapse.”
Asked what action has been taken in the case against the accused CISF official, after almost two months of the incident, CISF’s chief airport security officer at Bagdogra, Daya Sagar Shukla, said, “I’ll have to check. One can’t expect action overnight.”