An amputee recently had to endure a humiliating 45-minute ordeal at Mumbai Airport when she was not allowed to board her flight until she stripped and removed her prosthetic leg.
Antara Telang was traveling from Mumbai to Bangalore, India on Jan. 30. When she reached the security checkpoint, however, staff would not allow her to pass through until she removed her prosthetic leg, according to BuzzFeed.
Telang explained that she is a below the knee amputee and asked them use an ETD machine (which is used to detect explosives) or do a pat down check instead, which are the procedures she has typically experienced at other airports.
“They not only refused, but challenged me by saying things like ‘Can you tell us the full form of ETD first?’ and ‘don’t tell us how to do our job,’” Telang told BuzzFeed.
Telang flies frequently around the world for work, but has never been asked to remove her prosthetic.
The young professional lost her leg when she was 18 when a tree fell on her causing one leg to be break in two while the other was severely crushed.
Telang finally gave in to security members' absurd and degrading demands and was sent to a private room, took off her jeans and removed her leg.
“I literally had to hop on one leg holding my 6 kg prosthetic in my hand to give it to them,” Telang said. “After this, they didn’t even allow me to stand outside saying ‘people will see you’. This coming after they’ve made me strip and are passing my body part through a public scanner. Finally it was given to me and I was allowed to board my flight after the 45 minute ordeal.”
Telang had a similar experience at Mumbai Airport before, but this time she was “actually crying” when she retrieved her passport from staff.
A Mumbai Airport helpline explained to BuzzFeed that all prosthetics are scanned before boarding, which requires prosthetics to be removed and placed inside the scanning machine.
This is not the first time Mumbai Airport has been accused of treating amputees poorly. In 2013, a marketing executive was asked to remove her prosthetic leg to be scanned before boarding the flight. The experience would have required the 38-year-old above the knee amputee to strip in order to remove the prosthetic. After a draining argument, she convinced staff to use an ETD test instead and was also physically frisked.
Banner image credit: Reuters