Disability Rights activist, Virali Modi, was blatantly harassed by airport authorities while traveling from Delhi to Mumbai. Modi was asked to get up from her wheelchair and walk at the Indira Gandhi International airport despite being unable to do so due to her disability. She had suffered a spinal injury in 2006, and been rendered disabled.
Virali Modi had put out a post on her personal social media to this effect, detailing the degrading incident.
“YOU HAVE TO STAND UP FOR SECURITY CHECKING! STOP DOING DRAMA!,” - The CISF at Delhi airport said this to me. @jayantsinha @CISFHQrs @DelhiAirport @debolin_sen @BookLuster @guptasonali PLEASE RT - THIS TREATMENT TOWARDS THE DISABLED IS RIDICULOUS pic.twitter.com/WGYFULblUm— Virali Modi (@Virali01) September 9, 2019
In an exclusive interview with Republic TV, the disability rights activist recounted her horrific incident of harassment wherein the Delhi airport authorities had acted completely insensitive to her disability, calling her 'melodramatic'.
Virali Modi said that she had surrendered her personal wheelchair to the check-in counter at Delhi airport. Then, as soon as she moved on to clear the security line, she was approach by a CISF Officer who asked Modi whether she could walk or stand.
When Modi said that she could do neither, she was told that she would have to stand up as the wheekchair would not fit through the corridor. Virali suggested that the Officer could manually pat her down to check her to make the process easier for the two of them.
Modi went on to say, "She started being very rude, she started talking to me in a demeaning manner and she said 'no you have to stand up otherwise we're not going to be able to check you'."
"I kept telling her that 'ma'am I can't stand up, what do you want me to do about this?'" Modi said in her interview.
The CISF officer still refused to be helpful. According to Modi, the Officer said that she would speak to her senior, and went behind the curtain, and started complaining loudly to her senior.
"She starts talking in a loud manner saying that I am being melodramatic and I am just acting and that I don't look disabled. At that point of time, I had tears in my eyes, I was obviously very angry."
Another officer had come out, Modi said. "She wanted to do a checking and I said 'Ma'am I heard what you guys were talking about me.' She said 'what did you hear?' I said 'you guys were saying that I am being dramatic. I have been on a wheelchair for 13 years since 2006. How can you say that I am being dramatic?'"
The other Officer initially lied saying that they weren't talking about Modi but about the woman in front of her. However the original arrogant Officer came back out from behind the curtain to futher argue with Modi, "She says 'what do you think you heard?' Again, in a very arrogant tone. I said 'ma'am I know what I heard, you were saying that I am being dramatic'. She said 'no we weren't. We're going to lift you up'."
"I said, 'if you're going to lift me up, then what if I fall? Who's going to be liable and who's going to be responsible? I am a US citizen, do you want to see my passport, you can see how many times I have traveled'." Modi asked both CISF Officers
"Upon that she said 'no we don't want to see anything, I am not going to do your checking'. So another officer comes out, she does a manual pat-down and she lets me go," Modi concluded.