The Harassment Of Disability Activist Virali Modi In Delhi Reveals Old Attitudes Haven’t Changed

Posted: September 11, 2019

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Recently, Disability rights activist, Virali Modi met with insensitivity to the disabled again at Delhi Airport by a CISF Officer who claimed that she was “merely pretending”. 

We Indians often praise people with disability as ‘brave’, but what happens when this is just a put up show?

Virali Modi, a well known disability rights activist currently based in Mumbai, was recently a victim of harassment by a security personnel at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, while travelling to the US. She has been wheelchair bound for the past 13 years following a spinal cord injury. 

Virali Modi was allegedly questioned by a personnel from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) who insisted that she stand up for a security check. Virali, who is unable to stand or walk, said, “I have been disabled for the past 13 years and I can’t walk or stand. Today, (Monday) I was travelling from IGI Airport, Terminal 3 on a SpiceJet Flight (SG8723) to Mumbai.” She wrote a complaint to the CISF, which she then shared in this tweet.

The incident

Owing to her disability, Virali had given her own wheelchair at check-in as cargo. And she also had a porter to help her to her seat. 

When she reached the security check-in point, Virali says that a female CISF constable forced her to stand up. The porter had mentioned a number of times that Virali could not stand.

This happened even though she had presented her passport which proves that she travels internationally despite being wheelchair-bound. Despite the passport, the CISF staff accused her of “acting and doing drama.”

Shortly after this, the activist says she overheard the female constable tell her colleagues that “Virali was doing drama and could easily stand if she wanted.”

Virali confronted the lady who then started shouting at her. “Finally a senior staff member came, did a manual check and let me go,” she adds.

More training on ground needed!

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.”

However, this is not the first time Virali had to endure this sort of mental torture. A couple years ago, at the Mumbai airport, she adds that she was forced to stand up. On hearing that she couldn’t, one of the CISF personnel pulled her legs. The woman reportedly pulled so hard that Virali had to be hospitalised. 

Does this not go on to show the insensitivity that people with disabilities continue to meet with in this country?

Picture Credits: YouTube

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