Indians onboard French flight allege racism

Mumbai Over 50 Indian passengers flying Air France had a "harrowing" time "with hardly any water and food" at Paris airport after their aircraft developed a technical problem and complained that they were victims of "racial" profiling.

The tired passengers, who arrived here late Monday night after being stranded for 28 hours at Paris, said they were confined to a "small" lounge at the airport from 10 pm on Sunday till 7 am the next morning.

"We were kept in a small room (lounge) with hardly any food or water and we were told we could not leave the airport. We spent a whole night over there in that condition," a passenger, who travelled on aboard the flight-AF 218, said.

The passengers, on their way to Mumbai from the US via Paris, said while other foreigners were taken to hotels shortly after their plane returned to the airport due to a technical problem following a four-hour flight, the Indians were taken to the lounge and just given a bottle of water and a sandwich.

Giving details of their "harrowing" time, one of the travellers, Vineeta Sengupta said, "No foreigner would have been treated like the way we were treated. People were lying down on the floor over there (at a place at the airport) where immigration takes place."

Accusing Air France of "racial" profiling, a girl passenger said the officials there even had threatened that they would be handed over to the police if they did not stop protesting. No reason has officially been given for the delay.
Story First Published: May 12, 2009 16:37 IST

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