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Unfazed Ashok Gajapathi Raju says his frisking exemption no threat to security


New Delhi, Apr 8: A day after his "lighter and matchbox" remarks created controversy, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Wednesday remained unfazed, saying his exemption from frisking at airports should not be taken as a threat to security.

"Civil Aviation Minister is not frisked... I don't think the Civil Aviation Minister of government of India is a threat to aviation either in security or otherwise," he told reporters. [I carry matchbox onboard, says Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju]


Raju said this when asked for his comments on the controversy generated by his confession that his lighter and matchbox don't get confiscated after he became the minister which was not the case earlier.

"What is the big controversy that it (my comments) has triggered? What is it that I have said...the only difference I find is that my lighter and matchbox do not get confiscated which used happen in the past," the minister said.

During his address at a Bureau of Civil Aviation Security event here yesterday, Raju had said that before becoming a minister last year, his matchboxes and lighters were confiscated by airport security.

He had lost all his lighters and matchboxes then. But after becoming the minister for civil aviation "people stopped frisking me" and "my matchbox also came along with me", he had said.

Lighters and match box are prohibited on flights in India.

"So what is this halla gulla (hoopla) or controversy, I have not been able to understand. Do you think civil aviation minister is a threat to security, please let us know," Raju questioned.

When asked if there is need to do away with certain regulations which are not in sync with times, he said that they are required to be constantly updated, more particularly in the aviation sector.

"Regulations have to be constantly upgraded. There is no truth for all time. Probably truth for all time, you find in religions," he said.

Even the Constitution has the mechanics to amend it, he said, adding the regulations have to be continuously updated with times, particularly in aviation.


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