Friday, November 23, 2007

Selective frisking at airports?

As per a recent report on CNN IBN news channel, a select list of 24 people that the Central Government thinks as VVIPs, are exempted from being frisked at Indian airports. The peculiar aspect of this list - and something that has irked many citizens of India - is that the chiefs of the three defence forces, i.e. navy, army and air-force, are EXCLUDED. In simple words, the three chiefs, who are primarily responsible for the security of our country and citizens, will continue to be frisked at the airport. The list of 24 people, as per the news report, include the President, Vice-President Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and Mr. Robert Vadera, Congress chief Ms Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law.

One wonders what the son-in-law has done for the country that has apparently earned a rare privilege, and therefore more respect, that those that have shed their own blood to protect the country from terror. And the cabinet ministers whose background, the Government thinks, is so pure enough to earn this privilege than even those who have fought enemies and GOD knows what else, on battlefields on treacherous and punishing terrains.

The report quotes a government official claiming that if the privilege is extended to the chiefs of the three defence forces, similar requests can come from other quarters. Well, I too am an honest and a sincere citizen of this country. Why am I not given this privilege? And I am sure there are thousands of Indian citizens that do not pose a security threat. Sounds bizarre, doesn't it?

Ideally, everyone except the President of this country, should be frisked. I am not saying that others on that 24-people list pose a security threat. But it is an unnecessary privilege that gives rise to injustice. I do not think that the chiefs of defence forces pose a security threat either. Rather, it's the opposite. In the need of the hour, our defence forces are the first ones to sacrifice their lives to protect us. On the other hand, I too do not pose a security threat, but am still subject to frisking. So where does all this stop?

The simple solution is to eradicate this privilege. Except the President, subject each and every passenger at the airport, irrespective of who he or she is, to security checks. Not for any other reason, but to accord equal status to all and one.

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