Kolkata: A day after the shocking video of two IndiGo staff beating up a passenger emerged, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said, “Whatever is required to ensure passenger safety, we will surely undertake it.”
The minister’s assurance during his visit to Kolkata on Demonetisation Day is not to passengers alone. In fact, he stopped short of saying, “passengers beware”.
After talks with various stake holders “we have put in place in India a very innovative, one-of-a-kind, new-to-the-world, ‘national no-fly list’. If safety is compromised, we will disembark passengers and restrict them from flying”, he said.
While IndiGo apologised to the passenger, Rajeev Katiyal, who was manhandled by its staff, it has sacked the man who was filming the incident, allegedly as he provoked the two staff to attack him.
Montu Kalra, the man sacked, has been shouting himself hoarse saying he was not involved in the incident. IndiGo has said it was Kalra who instigated his colleagues into physically stopping Mr Katiyal from boarding a bus after an argument.
However, a counter narrative is taking place on social media. One of the many posts doing the rounds goes on to explain how the passenger treated the airline staff badly which provoked the incident. “This passenger is extremely unruly who is just waiting to take revenge.”
Meanwhile, the airline has put out a detailed four-page defence in which it said its staff had followed the Standard Operating Procedure and acted in self-defence, but was attacked first by the passenger.
“Whatever may have been the provocation, whether verbal or physical abuse, we could have tried to display more restraint,” said the airline.
Earlier this year, Air India filed complaints against Shiv Sena lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad after a fiasco with its staff.
Gaikwad had refused to get off the plane for nearly 45 minutes after it landed and readily admitted to reporters that he’d slapped Sukumar Raman – who was responsible for getting the aircraft ready for its next flight to Goa – “25 times” with his slippers after he was pressured to leave.
Gaikwad too filed complaints with police, saying he had been insulted, pushed and yelled at during the confrontation.