28 July, 2009

Frisking of Dr. Kalam by Justice (Retd.) K.T. Thomas

The news that A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a former President of India, was recently subjected to security-checks by the staff of Continental Airlines at the New Delhi airport as he was leaving on an overseas trip has evoked a sharp reaction in India. Barring Mr. Kalam himself, there appears to be near-unanimity of opinion that the frisking of a former President amounted to humiliation.
Mr. Kalam has not come out with a statement that he personally considered it a humiliation.

Security-checks for air-travellers were initially confined to international sectors. As incidents of hijacking escalated over the years, pre-embarkation security-checks were extended to domestic flights. There was a time when security officers had the discretion to exempt from security-check those passengers whom they did not deem it necessary to check.

Frisking was imposed with extreme rigour in the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre.

For passengers, such pre-embarkation inspection often leads to a harrowing experience. Yet, after that monstrous man-made catastrophe in the U.S., nobody is exempt from such pre-emptive scrutiny — not even the U.S. President. (I am told that for security reasons the U.S. President is being checked by a separate set of personnel). In India also security- checks became rigorous. Still, exemption is given to VVIPs. Should they be exempted from it?

In 2004 I was in the Cairo airport as one among 32 passengers waiting for an onward flight. The security-check involved the frisking of each passenger and the examination of cabin baggage apart from X-ray scrutiny of the check-in baggage. It took six hours to complete the pre-embarkation checking of 32 passengers.

When my turn came, the chaperoning senior officer was heard murmuring to the security staff a plea to exempt me from elaborate checking on the ground that I was a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India. A senior staff-member came and asked me: “Sir, we can trust you. But can you trust that none would have stamped a button type bomb in your trouser pockets?” I said I cannot. Next he asked: “Can you trust that none would have surreptitiously inserted a nail-type bomb in your baggage?” I said I cannot. Then he said: “Sir, this checking is not only for our security, it is for your security also.” I explained to him that I never wanted exemption from the security-check.

The remonstration that the former President should have been exempted from checking is over a non-issue. When Zia-ul Haq was President of Pakistan, he and his baggage were exempted from security-checks. His weakness for ripe mangoes was well-known. It has been reliably theorised that his adversaries managed to have a small packet of mangoes to be included in his cabin baggage, that one of the “mangoes” was in fact a small bomb and that it exploded when the aircraft was air-borne. All the crew-members and passengers in the flight, including the General, were killed in a trice.

What is disquieting is the criticism that a security-check amounted to insulting or humiliating the former President. In an egalitarian society like India, if something is insulting or humiliating to a VIP or VVIP, it is equally insulting to other citizens.

It is indeed an agonising exercise for the security staff of airlines and the security agencies to subject every passenger to pre-embarkation frisking, and scrutinising minutely all baggage, whether it is cabin baggage or checked-in baggage. It is a monotonous and weary job when each day thousands of passengers and their baggage are to be individually checked. Some of the passengers put on a long face.

Yet, by and large the security staff do it with dedication because they know they are thus ensuring the safety of the air-borne passengers.

To exempt some persons from security-checks by categorising them as VVIPs is but the consequence of a hangover of a feudal and colonial culture. Let Mr. Kalam stand out as model to our ruling elite and other VIP-VVIPs to persuade them to willingly yield to security-checks in the same manner as any other citizen of India.

Source: The Hindu (Opinion) http://www.hinduonnet.com/2009/07/25/stories/2009072556080900.htm

21 July, 2009

Ménage à trios

The Central Bureau of Investigation has finally filed the charge sheet in Sister Abhaya case. According to it Sr. Abhaya is supposed to have been put away by the three accused, two priests and a nun, as she was preview to their illicit relationship. More often than not such liaisons are conducted in utmost secrecy and one does not take others along for such nocturnal trips and that too when the place of action is a convent. Then what were three doing there, having a Ménage à trios? There seems to be some ambiguity. An acquittal appears to be in the offing.

13 July, 2009

Track ur lost mobile phone

Got an interesting fact to share. Nowdays each one of us carry Hi Fi mobile devices and always fear that it may be stolen. Each mobile carries a unique IMEI i.e International Mobile Identity No which can be used to track your mobile anywhere in the world.

This is how it works:-

1. Dial *#06# from ur mobile.

2. Your mobile shows a unique no. (it could be a mix of alpha numeric digit code)

3. Note down this number anywhere but except in your mobile as this is the number which will help trace your mobile in case of a theft.

4. Once stolen you just have to mail this IMEI No. to cop@vsnl.net

5. No need to go to police.

6. Your Mobile will be traced withing next 24 hrs via a complex system of GPRS and Internet.

7. You will find where your hand set is being operated even in case your no is being changed.

PS:- The e-mail id is distinctively Indian, so this may be India specific.

Female Tennis Outfits

Multitudes who are least interested in the game of tennis won't even stop by while channel surfing if it is not for the tinyoutfits. However making a fool of oneself like how the two besotted guys did at the Mirza residence is too demeaning.