Orgs condemn ‘racist’ treatment of elderly Naga woman by CIFS personnel at Ghy airport

ITANAGAR, 26 Mar: Assam-based Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS) and the Parag Das Centre for Documentation and Research have condemned the “racist and inhuman treatment” meted out to an octogenarian Naga woman, Mhalo Kikon, by personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBIA) in Guwahati on 24 March.

Kikon and her caregiver, who is also her granddaughter, were travelling from Guwahati to Delhi. She has had hip replacement surgery. She was also on a wheelchair that was provided by the airline for her, the MASS stated in a release.

“The woman security officer at the airport forced her to strip down to her underwear, in a deliberate attempt to humiliate her. She was then forcibly ushered out and

was able to relate her ordeal to her granddaughter. The security personnel on duty continued to intimidate and harass both Naga passengers when they tried to complain to the relevant authorities at the airport,” the MASS said.

“We are aware that such behaviour is common at LGBIA. Elderly passengers, especially those with disabilities and of tribal heritage, find it extremely difficult to navigate the aggressive Hindi-speaking attitude of the security personnel. This racism has to stop,” it said.

“We demand that the authorities at the airport and the CISF top brass take responsibility for this disgraceful behaviour. The guilty personnel have to face the consequences of their actions. In addition, we demand that CISF be subjected to regular public audits by statutory bodies like the Disability Commission of India and the National Commission for Minorities to sensitise their staff members.

“Furthermore, we demand that LGBIA employ staffers who are conversant with local languages and cultures, so that Hindi hegemony is avoided in Assam and the Northeast in the future,” the MASS added.