Tuesday, 21 July 2009

To Be Frisked Or Not To Be Frisked?

I do not wish to pass any moral judgement on the issue of Our Ex-President Abdul kalam being frisked by the Continental Airlines.

The man himself seemed to be least bothered about it, unlike Praful Patel (Union Aviation Minister) who appeared to be fuming.

But have a look at some of the 'frisking related episodes' that have happened.

1) In November 2007, Union defence minister A.K. Antony informed the Rajya Sabha that the civil aviation ministry had turned down his ministry’s request to exempt the three service chiefs from being frisked at Indian airports.

Subsequently, after the furore and heated debate, the service chiefs were excluded from being frisked.

2) Robert Vadra is excluded from being frisked when accompanying his wife or mother-in-law, both of whom obviously are not in the list.

3) George Fernandes was reportedly asked to take off his shoes and socks at a US airport. He did feel the insult.

4) Somnath Chatterjee once cancelled his trip to Australia when officials insisted on making a physical search. He probably took it as the exploitation of a 'poor communist' by the 'capitalists' and since "Inquilabs" dont work at the emigration counter he might have decided to return.

In the 1980s, the list of those exempted from being frisked at Indian airports was limited to the President, Prime minister, Chief justice of the Supreme Court, Lok Sabha speaker and State Governors.

Today,the list also includes the three Service Chiefs, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, the Attorney General of India and all Bharat Ratnas, Ex-Presidents and Ex-Prime ministers.

The rest like Robert Vadra et al are more likely to be the unoffical " green card holders".

The former US vice-president Al Gore was once stopped for extra screening at an American airport (by then he had completed his term and had become a private citizen) He said he was “more than happy to do his part for airport security" .

The people there would probably have pushed him in to the cubicle for a thorough search and later patted him on the soulder saying "Hey Gore, man you did a good job there".

What is that irks (Abdul Kalam is not that type I guess) the VVIPs on being frisked?

Is it that they get the feeling that they are being doubted as a terrorist, or that they cannot be believed?

Or is it that they have hugely bloated egos and hence see themselves above the laws of the land?

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