Virali Modi, a wheelchair-bound US citizen and disability rights activist, had a harrowing time at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday. She was allegedly harassed by a CISF woman constable who insisted that she should stand for mandatory security check procedure.
Virali cannot walk or stand and has been paralysed after a spinal cord injury since 2006.
In her complaint to CISF, she wrote: “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.”
She said that due to her disability, she had surrendered her personal wheelchair to the check-in counter and was assigned a porter to help her. When she reached the security check-in, a CISF woman constable started forcing her to stand up. The porter intervened and mentioned repeatedly that Virali could not stand.
“I even offered to show her my passport which proves that I travel internationally despite being a wheelchair user. She supposedly went to call her senior and started saying that I was acting and doing drama,” she alleged.
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,” Virali added.
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.”
Last year, she had alleged that a CISF personnel had forcefully lifted her from her wheelchair at Mumbai Airport. The allegation was rejected by the central force.