Siddharth pens note on mistreatment of family at Madurai airport, was told 'it happens': It was cruel, highly disturbing
A day after actor Siddharth alleged that his parents were harassed at the Madurai airport, he penned a long note on Wednesday giving a detailed account of what happened. Taking to Instagram, Siddharth captioned his post, “The other day at Madurai airport... This is all I have to say about that. Moving on..."
His note read, “Thank you for all the concern and support sent our way. Since the Airport incident, I have been receiving many messages from people sharing their own experiences. I've also been contacted by several media houses. I felt it better to explain my experience here. I would rather throw light on the problem than myself. The unnecessary attention will only upset my family further. I have flown out of Madurai Airport dozens of times and I have never had even a moment of difficulty or discomfort in the past. I was travelling with my family this time. Three elders, two young children, and a few adults. The airport was empty and we went to clear security well before our boarding time. The security line was also empty and we were the only passengers going through at the time."
Siddharth also wrote, “The CISF individual who sat behind glass kept scrutinising our IDs repeatedly including the children's passports. He then looked at my face and Adhaar card and shouted, "yeh tum ho (Is it you)?" When I told him it was me and asked him why he asked me that question when my ID looks exactly like I do, he said he had doubts. Then the next individual shouted at us asking "Hindi samajhte hain na (You understand Hindi right)?" And before we answered, rudely went on that he would throw out any iPad or phones that he found." After my bag cleared, he then took out my earphones and threw them on the tray. I told him that at various airports we have lost electronics like earphones and apple pencils and even phones left on the tray and have been advised to avoid keeping them on the tray because of theft. To which we were told that this is Madurai and these are the rules."
He continued, “I told them we had elders in the group so they can be gentle with them. They then flagged my mother's purse and asked her if she had any coins in it. She said that she did. They then told her to remove all the coins from her purse. When I asked them (why that was needed as currency coins are both allowed and clearly seen in the scanner, they replied in India it is the rule that we must remove whatever they ask us to remove. I told them it was unfair to make someone over 70 empty their purse like this. I also asked if something was wrong and why they were talking to us so rudely."
“Then another person at the scanner monitor shouted to my sister from 15 feet away "you are carrying medical injections? What is the medical problem you are carrying them for?" One of the children has medical need syringes that were in a clearly marked med bag. My sister requested him to come and speak to her in private. Why was the curious gentleman asking for medical details of a sensitive nature across an open area. Is it fair to reveal people's personal details like this? Finally when I protested that this was harassment and we were not a security risk and we had cleared 3 crowded airports together as a family in the past week without incident," the actor added.
“They came up to speak to me and asked what my problem was. I started by saying you have been shouting at us since we entered and also requested them to speak in English when requested by those who don't speak Hindi. The reply I got was, "Dekho (See, in India there are rules and regulations." At this point 20 mins had passed. I asked to speak to the senior most member of their team. When the said person approached me, I removed my mask and the person speaking to me recognised me and said, "I'm your fan. Please go ahead." I told him I didn't want his kindness after them recognising me. None of our family members behaved badly with them and they had been very rude to us and it was a disturbing experience specially for our elders. At this point he said, "Bro, it happens. Leave it. Sorry," he said.
Siddharth added, “I told him sternly in English "it's not ok. I got an apology just because you're an admirer. What about common people who experience this kind of bullying? Learn to respect your elders." I then went to assist my parents to gather their things which evere scanned 3 times and go to our boarding gate. We were then met by airport as well as airline employees who apologised to us on behalf of CISF and said they will look into why we were picked on the way we were."
“I fly several times a week and depend on the kindness of strangers and those who work in our airports for my safety and comfort. I have never had to speak back to anyone like this one instance. I guess the reason was something really hurt when I saw the way they spoke to my parents. It was cruel, unnecessary and highly disturbing and it scared me how many seniors were being spoken to like this everyday," it read.
“It is a difficult and tiring job protecting any Airport. Nobody is denying that. This is also not the norm for airports or CISF and it is the first time I have ever experienced it. It's not the system that's broken. Maybe it comes down to individuals having a bad day and taking it out on others. It still does not make it OK! I sincerely request that no agenda be made against me or anyone else for this reportage. I didnt ask for special treatment. All that was expected was courtesy and kindness to elders. You would have felt and said exactly what I did if it came down to your parents. Wouldn't you?" ended his note. The last slide featured folded hands.