- 'They forced me to remove my limb. It took 45 minutes to wear it back. While I was wearing it inside the room, the officials asked me to come out quickly as the take-off time was nearing.'
As if the 'psychological hurt' was not enough, Indian paracyclist Aditya Mehta was also left bleeding after being forced to remove his prosthetic limb as part of a security check at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru, on Thursday.
Two months after a similar incident of humiliation, Aditya had to go through the ordeal again when he was forced to remove his prosthetic limb on October 11 and while hurriedly wearing it back to catch the flight he ended up hurting himself.
"They forced me to remove my limb. It took 45 minutes to wear it back. While I was wearing it inside the room, the officials asked me to come out quickly as the take-off time was nearing. In that tension I started to push my stump very hard, and when I removed the limb in my house, I found I was bleeding," Mehta told PTI on phone from Hyderabad.
Mehta also said that he was carrying an injury for the last 20 days and it would be difficult for him to remove the prosthetic limb and wear it again.
Earlier on two occasions, Mehta had been humiliated by the security people at Delhi and Bengaluru airports.
Mehta said he was asked by CISF official Thakur Das to get inside a room and remove his prosthetic limb.
"At the airport the same person (Thakur Das), with whom I had an issue at the airport, was there and he asked me to get into a room and remove the limb," he said.
Mehta pleaded with the official that if he removed his artificial limb it would take at least 45 minutes to wear it back and the flight is about to take-off in next 30 minutes.
"If I remove the limb, it will take 45 minutes to wear it back and my flight is ready to take-off in next 30 minutes," he pleaded with the officer.
"But the officer told me 'No, if it is an injury, it is your problem. We have to take care of security and you should allow us to do our duty'," Mehta said.
Mehta argued that he had been to three other airports but the officials there did not ask him to remove his limb.
"I told them the security officials can check the ETD. In fact, I had been to three other airports, where they did not force me to remove my limb."
Venting his ire on social media, Mehta said despite writing to DGCA asking for full-body scanners for disabled people be set up, no action has been taken so far.
The DGCA office in Hyderabad said that asking people with prosthetic limbs to remove them is standard operating procedure as part of security.
Last week, Paralympic silver medalist Deepa Malik had alleged rude behaviour by a cabin crew member of TATA-SIA-run Vistara, prompting the airline to issue an apology.
Malik, who was travelling on Vistara's Mumbai-Delhi flight UK 902 on Tuesday when the incident happened, also complained to the airlines about "poor handling" of wheelchair-bound passengers by the airline staff.
"Crew member Priyanka was very rude in the flight. She told me to speak softly when I called parents to inform them about the delay in flight," she wrote in the complaint.
"On objecting, she said 'sweetheart, chill'," Malik wrote, adding that wheelchair handling was so poor that you do not know how to shift a person from seat to cabin chair. The entire staff stands and looks at each other for 10 minutes. No action."
Image: Aditya Mehta
Photograph courtesy: Aditya Mehta/Twitter