This news item (Furore over Kalam frisking) in today’s Deccan Herald made me laugh. (Read the full article to get an idea of the ludicrousness of the whole thing.)
The statement was made after MPs demanded action against those guilty of asking Kalam to remove his footwear during the check, calling it an “unpardonable” act. The incident took place on April 24 when Kalam was about to board a flight to Newark, New Jersey.
As he proceeded toward boarding the aircraft, Continental Airlines staff frisked him in contravention of rules even though CISF personnel on duty pointed out that Kalam was exempt from such checks.
… The issue was taken up during Zero Hour by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, who strongly objected to the check carried out on Kalam. “It is an issue which puts the whole nation to shame,” Jaitley said, adding that whenever foreign dignitaries visited India, a vehicle was sent on to the tarmac to receive them, while Indian dignitaries are frisked.
There were also letters to the editor talking about how we [Indians] had been insulted, how it was an “unpardonable act”, etc. Calling something like this an unpardonable act is laughable and people need some perspective.
I also don’t like it when a person or a group of people claim to know what’s going on in my mind. I didn’t feel insulted or shamed. I’m willing to wager that there were some other people who didn’t either. So speaking for “the nation” is mind-reading, presumptuous, and has elements of fantasy to it.
So they frisked poor ex-President Kalam and he had to remove his shoes. Big deal.
You and I get frisked and our bags get searched when we enter movie theatres, hotels, hospitals, and airports. What’s the need for all this uproar if one person was mistakenly asked to do what every person flying an airline is asked to do now-a-days? It’s not like they strip-searched the man, humiliated him, and put a clip on YouTube. It was a mistake and that’s about it. There’s no need for such an overreaction.
Plus, the Rajya Sabha has bigger problems to tackle than getting riled up about a small inconvenience to an ex-President that took place over three months ago.
On a lighter note, the conspiracy theorist in me wonders whether this is all part of a bigger plan to frisk foreign dignitaries as part of the welcome package.
“Let’s invite the French President and his wife.”
“I’ll frisk Ms. Bruni.”
“And let’s invite our main man Silvio [Berlusconi] too. He’ll bring a whole group of PYTs.”
“Mmm, good idea.”
P.S. Continental Airlines has apologized for the incident.