Chennai International Airport has begun to sensitise its staff members on handling passengers with disabilities. The welcome move comes in few days after actress Sudhaa Chandran's video went viral on Instagram, where she expressed her anguish about being asked to remove her prosthetic leg in Mumbai during security check. The clip caused uproar online and demanded an apology from the CISF personnel.
Steps Taken For Sensitisation
As reported by The Times of India, the CISF and the airport staff are trained on how to handle a wheelchair-bound passenger during security checks as well as while boarding or disembarking the flight. They will be taught on giving the necessary assistance to them when they are transferred from one wheelchair to the other for the same.
For this, inputs were taken from disabled passengers who found air travel tougher than usual. They were asked about the problems they faced while they were at the airport. Very often, they are told to stand up or untie their clothes in order to show the prosthetic body part or calipers during security check, that does more harm than good.
In light of what happened to Sudhaa Chandran, prominent people with disabilities as well as activists came forward and expressed the need for the CISF staff to be sensitised accordingly. A member of the 'Disability Rights Alliance', Vaishnavi Jayakumar, told the publication about making this an integral part of the CISF Aviation Security Curriculum. She added, "It would help if airlines have proper special service request options when tickets are being booked during pre-journey."
Making Airports More Accessible
While the training session is step in the desirable direction, more needs to be done to make airports more accessible around the country. The president of the Spinal Injured Persons Association, D Gnana Bharathi, who participated in the programme, said, "The CISF and Airport need sensitisation. They often look at us with suspicion, often instructing us to stand up or taking us to another room for further checks." He also asked the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to make room for adequate facilities that will help these passengers can be taken to their cabs or metro station near the airport.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has also laid down guidelines for the country's airports on how to handle people with disabilities. According to The Indian Express, these will facilitate in bringing about special arrangements regarding screening of such passengers 'keeping the dignity and privacy of the passenger in mind.'