By Rhiddhis Chakravorty
A pregnant woman was allegedly strip searched and ‘examined’ for pregnancy on the name of security check, by CISF personnel at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport while she was returning to Delhi with her husband after attending the last rites of her father at Guwahati.
What is more shocking is that instead of getting a medical professional to examine her pregnancy, a lady CISF personnel identified as Sujata by the couple, manually ‘examined’ her by pressing her tummy. As if it was not enough, the callous response of the higher authorities of the elite force has further irked the couple and the entire incident has raised serious questions about lack of professionalism of the elite force responsible for highly sensitive installations in the country.
Shivam Sharma and his wife Dolly Goswami flew to Guwahati from Delhi on 12th June to attend Dolly’s father’s last rites. On 24th June they had to catch the Spice jet flight SG-169 flight from Guwahati to Delhi.
“I sought a wheelchair for my wife who is 25 weeks pregnant and the airlines staff provided the wheelchair but they kept grilling us for about 20 minutes asking questions about pregnancy before handing us our boarding passes. We passed through metal detectors and other detectors but my wife was refused the boarding pass and a lady security personnel with the CISF demanded a proof of her pregnancy. We did not have any such proof at that time but I showed her the boarding pass at Delhi airport dated 12th June. Since I work in the tourism industry, I know that no such proof is needed prior to 28th week of pregnancy. Moreover we did not face any problem while flying to Guwahati from Delhi. But the lady was extremely rude and she finally took my wife to a confined room, forced her to strip and pressed her abdomen to verify the pregnancy. It could be very dangerous for the child and the mother.” Narrated Shivam Sharma.
@Ashok_Gajapathi @CISFHQrs @narendramodi Dear CISF, please learn how to treat a pregnant woman. Today in Guwahati airport my wife was harrased by CISF staff named Sujata, she forced my wife to undress to verify pregnancy. Is it a crime being pregnant in this country? pic.twitter.com/b65IqXySyR
— Shivam Sarmah (@shivamsarmah) June 24, 2018
“After the intense humiliation we were allowed to board the flight. We were already late and therefore we did not have time to push it further so I had twitted about it to the CISF and the media fraternity learnt about the incident and started approaching us. But interestingly till now no one has replied to that twit. Later on when I sent an email to the CISF they called me and gave an excuse that Sujata was a trainee.” Sharma said.
Sharma also termed the response of the CISF top brass completely callous. “They don’t respond to twits, the email id and the phone of the CPRO do not work. When I first sent them the mail it bounced. I got another email id from a journalist and mailed them. Only then the commandant of CISF Guwahti called me and sent a whatsApp message bapologising for the incident. But they did not say anything about investigation or disciplinary action but came up with an excuse that Sujata was a trainee. Why are they not concerned with the efficiency of the people they recruit in important places. They also said that the PRO has changed and therefore the email is not working. Is it how the PR of an elite force managed? After their phone calls and messages seeking apology I demanded a formal apology on email which they have not sent earlier. The Commandant of Guwahati calls me up seeking my email ID. Can’t they get it from the mail I sent to them?” He says.