Thursday, July 30, 2009


National security should always be above protocols...

Entire nation has been mute audience of how our so-called VIPs/VVIPs leave no opportunity to regularly and more oft en blatantly showcase their self-proclaimed elitism! Be it through the red lights on their cars, self-made statutes, beeline of special security personnel, non-adherence to common public rules, and their perpetual attention seeking activities - the list continues. This feudal mindset of our VIPs again got highlighted when our ministers made a huge hue and cry over the frisking of former President, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. It seems that everyone, except for the victim, was concerned about the incident! It is reported that Dr. Kalam did not hesitate nor object while getting frisked. He rather like a common flyer followed all rules and allowed the authorities to frisk him.

On retrospection it gets quite evident that there was no intention of insulting our former President by Continental Airline, as echoed by our so very concerned politicians! This frisking procedure is part of their regular safety measure. As per the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set-up post 9/11 incident, this type of checking is a mandatory part of airline security. Under TSA no one, be it a VIP or non-VIP, is exempted - unlike Indian scenario. These safety measures are laid out and are followed in almost all developed countries to prevent any further 9/11 like incidents. These security measures further not only make sure that no one misuses their VIP or special status but also make sure that safety is maintained across all levels. Sometimes inadvertently one may carry something that can be a threat to flyers safety and a compromise to airline security.

In fact, airline security, which is becoming a prime target of terror attacks, has nothing to do with the status of a passenger. Not only VIPs but also their family members should be brought inside this security check loop. Rather than making a fuss about the whole incident and wasting time debating on the same in the parliament, our self-obsessed VIPs should learn from Dr. Kalam who without any iota of hesitance followed the rules. Our elite class ‘power-that-be’ should dissolve their ego and useless sense of vanity, when it comes to mass safety. Talking about security, in the same country, even the Chiefs of Indian armed forces go through normal frisking procedure and are not exempted from rules, when they travel through commercial airlines. Instead of arguing over special security provision for VIPs, our political-class should devote the same time and energy in arguing over enhancing the overall security of Indian airlines. In other developed countries, ministers and bureaucrats after their retirement and tenure are found leading an ordinary life among common people shedding their baggage of special privileges without fighting over such petty issues like VIP treatment. No one is exempted from checks but they sometime use a different security area for the people currently holding office and not for the ex-authority. Even the US senators (Norm Coleman and the then Senator Obama) have to stand in the queue for security check before boarding a flight.

We need to understand that when it comes to national security, there should be no compromise! Given the history of airlines hijacking and security breaches, it becomes imperative to have similar security checks in India as well. Let this incident stand out as an example for all attention seeking elite members of politico-class. This is not a lesson of modesty for Indians alone but for all VIPs across the world who keep their personal status higher than their any national rules. Let's for once have a role model who honoured rules gracefully more than individual self!


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