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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2704

"Sorry Kalam," says Continental Airlines after frisking him

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Meherabad (Maharashtra) 23 July ( Faced with a police case and likely government action in the wake of furor in Parliament, America's Continental Airlines on Wednesday said Sorry Kalam for frisking him in April.

‘We have tendered a formal apology to Dr Kalam and we sincerely hope he will fly with us again’, the airline said in a statement issued in Delhi.

The former Indian President was frisked at the international airport before he boarded the Newark-bound flight of the airline on 21st April. It was a breach of protocol from the India point and the incident sparked off a furor in parliament on Tuesday. Initially, the American Airline took the stand that there could be no exception to security frisking of its passengers but it changed its stand once the gravity of the issue became clear.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, speaking in Parliament, described the act of frisking Kalam, who is exempted from security checks, as unpardonable. He assured agitated members corrective action by the government. Immediately the Civil Aviation Ministry ordered a probe into the incident involving the ground security staff of the airline. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security slapped a show cause notice.

A Police case was also registered Continental Airlines as the former president is exempt from pre-embarkation security checks.

The text of the police complaint:

As per the FIR, on 21 April, 2009, Shri Abdul Kalam was traveling by Continental Airlines Flight No.CO-083 from IGI Airport, New Delhi to New York. As he proceeded towards the aircraft, the staff of the Continental Airlines carried out frisking of Shri Abdul Kalam in contravention to the BCAS rule even as the CISF personnel pointed out that he was exempt from such checks. An enquiry was ordered into the matter which established that the staff had wrongfully, under the direction of their Security-in-Charge, Country Director and Station Manager, carried out pre-embarkation body check of Shri Abdul Kalam.

A Show Cause Notice was issued on 9 July, 2009 to the Station Manager of Continental Airline asking as to why action should not be taken against them under Section 11A of Aircraft Act, 1934. The airline was given 7 days to respond. No reply has been received from the airline till date. The BCAS has, thus, registered an FIR with the SHO, IGI Airport Police Station against all the concerned staff of the Continental Airlines under Section 11A of Aircraft Act, 1934 for willful violation of the directions issued by BCAS.

-Asian Tribune -

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