Satendra Singh asked to remove his callipers

After having felt “harassed and humiliated” by security personnel at the Hyderabad airport this past Sunday, disability rights activist Satendra Singh, who has post-polio residual paralysis, has urged the Civil Aviation Ministry and Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities to ensure that persons with disability (PwD) are treated with dignity at airports and on flights.

Dr. Singh said he was shocked when a CISF official asked him to remove the callipers he uses for walking. “I explained gently that I cannot remove it and suggested that they could carryout an Explosives Trace Detector Test (ETD). The official refused and became adamant. I even explained the anatomy of the callipers but all in vain. Even the aircraft officials explained their helplessness citing security issues,” explained the doctor.

“I was invited to speak at the International Conference on Evidence in Global Disability and Health’ jointly organised by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Public Health Foundation of India at Hyderabad and was shocked by the lack of empathy of the security staff at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport,” said Dr. Singh, who works at the University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital.

The physician added that this is not the first time that PwDs have been humiliated.

“I was the last one to board my flight and was distraught after being humiliated at the airport. I have now written to the senior officials asking for their intervention.”