NEW DELHI: The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will undertake "enhanced efforts" to deploy more personnel at airports who know the local language following an incident where DMK MP Kanimozhi recently alleged that a force personnel questioned her if she was an Indian as the law maker didn't speak Hindi.
A senior officer in the airports guarding central paramilitary force rejected the charges made by the MP quoting the women official's preliminary questioning on the incident.
He said the lady official who interacted with the Member of Parliament on August 9 at the Chennai international airport told senior officials during inquiry that she "did not utter the words as alleged by the concerned passenger but just said that Hindi is also an Indian or official language."
Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK party patriarch and former Tamil Nadu chief minister K Karunanidhi, had tweeted about the incident.
"Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if 'I am an Indian' when I asked her to speak to me in Tamil or English as I did not know Hindi. I would like to know from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi," the MP from the Thoothukkudi Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu had tweeted with the hashtag 'hindiimposition'.
CISF officials said the lady official posted at the Chennai airport has been "counselled about her conduct and the soft skills and basic language courtesies the force personnel need to extend to the passengers, as taught to them during training."
The lady official, they said, hails from a south Indian state and had interacted with Kanimozhi for a routine security process to be followed, in Hindi.
"She told the inquiry team that she never questioned the passenger about her being an Indian for not knowing Hindi but just said that Hindi is an Indian or official language," a senior CISF officer said.
After Kanimozhi flagged the issue through her Tweet, the CISF had responded through its official handle on the same social media platform and said an inquiry has been ordered into the matter and that "it is not the policy of CISF to insist upon any particular language.
"The senior officer said the force will undertake "enhanced efforts to ensure that personnel and officers who know the local language are increasingly deployed at airports keeping in mind administrative and operational issues."
That has always been the policy and it is being reiterated again, he said.
When a response was sought on the issue from CISF Director General (DG) Rajesh Ranjan, he told PTI: "Our emphasis is on communication that can take place in whatever manner."
Another senior official of the force said the CISF regularly conducts soft skills classes and public interaction sessions for its personnel and the recent incident is an "aberration and not a norm."
"Everyday, lakhs of passengers travelling to destinations within the country and abroad interact with CISF personnel and such incidents do not take place very often. Whenever such incidents are reported, appropriate action is taken," the officer said.
The CISF is the national civil aviation security force and it provides counter-terrorist and anti-sabotage cover to 64 such facilities in the country at present.