Specially-Abled Woman With Callipers Asked To Take-Off Her Jeans At Kolkata Airport
Two disability-rights activists were allegedly humiliated at Kolkata Airport while travelling to Delhi on Sunday, October 20.
Jeeja Ghosh Nag and Kuhu Das, were on their way in a GoAir Flight to the national capital to attend the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Jeeja, born with cerebral palsy, was denied entry without an escort by GoAir staff, while Kuhu was told to remove her jeans by the CISF personnel.
Jeeja alleged that GoAir staff behaved in an insensitive manner when she refused to be escorted by a co-passenger as demanded by the airline.
“I had requested for a wheelchair, but that took ages to arrive. When I contacted the airline, the person who answered said they were short-staffed. When I finally managed to reach the check-in-counter, the staff said I could not fly unescorted and that I would have to wait till others arrived,” Ghosh told The Times Of India.
Yes,I have faced problems before but not to this extent: Jeeja Ghosh(Passenger with cerbral palsy who was offloaded) pic.twitter.com/iZ0RuRlkVm
— ANI (@ANI) May 12, 2016
Her co-passengers also opposed to this. After a heated argument, the staff permitted her to board the flight. Jeeja told the media that she was appalled by the humiliating treatment. This is not the first time the activist had to suffer such humiliation. Earlier, SpiceJet was directed by a court to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to Jeeja for not allowing her to board a flight.
Kuhu Das, polio survivor alleged that she was asked by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) staff to take off her jeans as she wears calliper on her leg. Other passengers also protested, and higher officials stepped in.
“Were they not been trained and sensitised?” Kuhu asked. She added that such incidents show how people with disability suffer despite so much fight for rights.
Ghosh and Das insisted they would travel with dignity or not travel at all. They were soon accompanied by two more activists-Roy and Sengupta, which forced the airline officials to permit them to travel.
The airlines issued a statement condemning the incident, “GoAir sincerely apologises for the unfortunate incident that took place during the check-in process of a handicapped passenger on GoAir flight G8102 from Kolkata to Delhi. The handicap passenger did not pre-book a wheelchair but asked for one at the check-in counter. The duty staff upon realising all three wheelchairs allocated for the said flight were occupied, informed the passenger that she would try to source a wheelchair. It took a few minutes to arrange a wheelchair. GoAir apologises for the delay in sourcing the wheelchair. A wheelchair was sourced and provided, and the passenger was escorted all the way to the aircraft door by the GoAir staff.”
A CISF officer, after he checked the CCTV footage of the incident, said, “Our officer has asked the woman (Das) to show her callipers which is a standard checking procedure. There was no intent to embarrass or hurt her.”
We would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to Ms Jeeja Ghosh & Ms Kuhu Das during check-in process at #KolkataAirport. The matter is being strongly taken up with concerned teams to ensure that such incidents does not happen again.@AAI_Official @MoCA_GoI
— Kolkata Airport (@aaikolairport) October 21, 2019