Why am I so upset with a drill that I should normally be supporting? Why should I be against a move that is basically aimed at passenger safety? Isn’t it the airline’s right to ensure proper security check for the safety of its own passengers?
Sure, but there are certain protocols that are recognised, followed and respected the world over, and one would have imagined the US airline would do so too. Kalam is by no stretch of imagination an ordinary person. He was not only the President of India, but also the most liked and loved one. And he certainly didn’t pose any threat to anyone.
Also, just as one finds fault with the frisking of the services chiefs, one can find even bigger fault with frisking of someone who was, till not too long ago, the Supreme Commander of the Indian defence forces.
It is not possible that the asinine security officials of the airline did not know who Kalam is. Even if one were to assume that the security officials, who reportedly said “no one is exempted”, did not know of Kalam, how could they ignore the presence of sundry officials who were hovering around Kalam to ensure that he was seen off respectfully? And even if they couldn’t see, how dare they force their diktat after being told specifically who the person in question was?
If there is suspicion that the person may endanger others, please frisk, detain, punish, or do anything else that is necessary. But you cannot be bull-headed about it. There is immense merit and justification in protocols and rules, but they cannot be at the cost of practicality. What Continental Airline did in case of Kalam was not just a breach of protocol, but it turned practicality on its head. Imagine Indian security officials insisting that Hillary will not be allowed to leave India till she is frisked by a woman constable.