Woman on wheelchair asked to stand at Delhi’s T3, told ‘don’t do drama’
The activist said when she reached the security check-in point a woman CISF constable started forcing her to stand up although the porter intervened and mentioned repeatedly that Virali could not stand.Updated: Sep 09, 2019 22:02 IST
Wheelchair-bound US citizen and disability rights activist, Virali Modi, had a harrowing time at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday when she was allegedly harassed by a CISF woman constable who insisted she should stand for the mandatory security check procedure. Virali cannot walk or stand and has been paralyzed after a spinal cord injury since 2006.
“I am disabled from the last 13 years. I am unable to walk and stand. I was travelling today (Monday) from IGI Airport, Terminal 3 on a SpiceJet Flight (SG8723) to Mumbai,” Virali wrote in her complaint to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
The activist said that due to her disability, she had surrendered her personal wheelchair to the check-in counter as cargo and had also been assigned a porter to help her to her seat. When she reached the security check-in point a woman CISF constable started forcing her to stand up although the porter intervened and mentioned repeatedly that Virali could not stand.
Virali alleged that despite showing her passport which proves that she travels internationally even after being wheelchair-bound, the CISF staff went on to accuse her of “acting and doing drama”. Following this the activist also overheard the woman constable telling her colleagues that she was “doing drama and could easily stand if she wanted to”. When confronted, the CISF staff started shouting at the activist.
In her letter, Virali said that she could not get the name of the CISF staff as she was standing in such a way where her name tag was not clearly visible. “Finally a senior staff member came, did a manual check and let me go.”
Expressing concern at the CISF personnel’s behaviour, Virali wrote in her complaint : “Is this how the CISF is trained to handle people with disabilities? If so then it’s a shame on our government. I should be treated with respect and sensitivity. This behaviour is absurd and I request you to please look into this matter and take the necessary action so this doesn’t happen to anyone with a disability.”
A few years ago, Virali had reportedly faced a similar incident at the Mumbai airport where the CISF staff insisted she stand up. When she said she couldn’t, one of the women troopers pulled so hard at her leg that she had to be hospitalised.