The Central Industrial Security Force has suspended one of its officials for allegedly strip-searching an 80-year-old disabled woman at the Guwahati airport on Thursday.
“Security and dignity of needy pax go hand in hand,” the armed forces tweeted on Thursday. “CISF has already started enquiry in connection with the unfortunate incident at Guwahati airport.”
It added that the deputy inspector general of police of the armed forces has spoken to the passenger.
The incident came to light after Dolly Kikon, the daughter of the elderly women, tweeted about it. Kikon said that the security personnel wanted proof of her mother’s titanium hip implant and forced her to undress.
“Is that how we treat seniors,” she asked, tagging the Central Industrial Security Force and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Kikon, an anthropologist, alleged that her niece, who was taking care of the elderly woman, filed a complaint with the armed forces but she was refused a copy.
“They DID not allow her to take a screenshot saying it’s not ‘allowed’,” Kikon said in another tweet. “My mom is distressed.”
She added: “It is disgusting! My 80 year old disabled mother mother was forced to pull down her undergarment and get naked. Why? Why?”
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that he would look into the allegations.
After the armed forces said it has suspended its official, Kikon thanked two police officers from Manipur who helped her mother.
“More sensitisation on disability, race, and care for senior citizens needed,” she added.
In October, dancer Sudhaa Chandran had shared a similar experience. In an Instagram video, the dancer had said that airport security officials often ask her to remove her prosthetic limb.
Chandran had said that she requests Central Industrial Security Force officials to conduct an Explosive Test Detector, or ETD, scan on her prosthetic limb every time she takes needs to take a flight but they refuse to do so.
The armed forces had then apologised for the inconvenience caused to her. It had added that according to the protocol, prosthetics are to be removed for security checks only in exceptional cases.