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Screening at Airport: A ground reality


By Rebati Mohan Sinha, Mumbai

The treatment meted out to Shah Rukh Khan detained beyond 66 minutes at the US airport is best known to the Airport Authority. These are the security drills that can’t be changed. The point is that every country has its own set of rules. Some are more stringent than the other.

Here I would like to say that a visitor always has a choice of his own to go or not to go to a particular place that makes him uncomfortable. The United States is known to be scrupulous while screening of the tourist is concerned, especially after 9/11 attack and we are quite aware of this punishing procedure.

All visitors are subjected to rigorous screening; nobody should feel victimized while going through such painful processes (ordeal). Last year, at Singapore Airport I faced several irrelevant questions for carrying a physiotherapy belt made up of cloth pouch having steal strips in it for leg exercise. However, at Mumbai Airport no security personnel had questioned me, even no one told me to remove my coat; but in Singapore I had to.

It is time now, our politicians (VVIPs), movie stars and cricketers must wake up to this ground realities. The outside world is neither interested nor impressed by someone’s status. One may be a renowned businessman or a Bollywood Badshah, the officer on duty would not mind telling him to step aside, he is least concerned with his fame or bank balance at back home. He is indifferent about fans waving their hands and asking their autographs. His job is to make sure that the tourist comes out clean.

Is that so tough to accept? Of course, it is irritating.

This incident should inspire our Airport Authorities to tighten up immigration process. I don’t appreciate the suggestion of “tit for tat” given by a Central Cabinet Minister. What happened to Shah Rukh Khan is too bad; at the same time, people might think that this may be a sort of publicity stunt.

Today is Ninthoapa (Monday)

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