Kalam Frisking: Blown Out of Proportion

One more protocol breached, one more controversy. This time the culprit has been an American airline that has been criticised and is being sued for frisking a former Indian president for security reasons. The matter was even raised in our parliament and a notice has been sent to the airline as well. The airline has been accused of embarrassing a public figure and breaching Indian laws. The catch in the story is that the victim, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, has actually taken the whole issue lightly and has not felt embarrassed at all. So who’s to blame, the Indian Govt. for blowing out the issue or the airline for breaking laws?

So what’s the law that has been broken? The Indian government has listed some VIPs and VVIPs and given them a luxury of boarding any plane without going through the mandatory security procedures. Now this is a standard procedure in many countries but the problem in our nation is that the list is just too big. While in America this luxury is provided only to the heads of the states travelling in private aircrafts, in India it has been extended to a host of personalities. They are, former and current presidents and prime ministers, cabinet ministers, Chief Ministers, Chiefs of Armed forces, Sonia Gandhi and her family that includes ’Robert Vadhera’ too. Now everyone knows how paranoid Americans are about their security after 9/11. No doubt that breach of such a protocol was about to happen.

Is such a long list justified? In today’s world where security is a paramount concern all over the world, it’s a common thought that no stone should be left unturned to ensure security. Now having such a huge list of people allowed to bypass security is a matter of concern and foreign airlines will certainly demand an explanation. For example, there seems to be no apparent logical reasoning for the inclusion of Robert Vadhera in the list. What important place does he hold in the country’s functioning except being the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi. This inadvertently puts the whole list’s purpose in doubt especially for the foreign airlines who are just too concerned about security.

Since security is such a paramount concern in today’s world, Continental Airlines has refused to officially apologise to Dr. Kalam. Even Dr. Kalam has rightly said that he doesn’t have any problem with security checks and hasn’t demanded any apology at all. Though our MPs are going ga-ga over the matter. Now our MPs are saying that we welcome our guests such as Hillary Clinton with open arms and saving them from any humiliation at all. So who’s actually at fault? Obviously we the Indians are at fault for not giving preference to our own security. Terrorists arrive in our country at will and this should suggest that our security be fool-proof. American airlines after 9/11 incident have been right in having more strict security measures in place.

Even the public accepts security measures as one’s own safety then why our ministers have a problem with that? I’m not at all saying that they can be a threat to our security. They should actually volunteer for security checks and set an example. Dr. Kalam has let the logic conquer in this case and hence accepted the frisking as a routine and normal procedure. Our ministers should also follow the suit and parliament must revise the list to bring some sanity to it. These incidents will keep on occurring as they have occurred in the past as the airlines across the world become more and more security conscious in this dangerous world.

Pawan Gupta

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramesh_lalwani/3474547434/]