IndiGo Passenger Dragged On Tarmac; Staff Sacked, So Is 'Whistleblower'

As the video surfaced on Tuesday, IndiGo put out an apology and said the staff involved had been sacked immediately after an inquiry.

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An IndiGo passenger is assaulted and pinned down by the airline's staff at the Delhi airport


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. IndiGo passenger assaulted, dragged on tarmac by the staff, video shows
  2. Government ordered inquiry, demanded a report from the airline
  3. IndiGo put out an apology and said it had fired the staff involved
A passenger is assaulted and dragged on the tarmac by the staff of IndiGo airlines at the Delhi airport in a video that has been widely shared since it emerged yesterday, a month after the incident. "How dare you!" the enraged passenger screamed as he was manhandled and physically prevented from boarding a coach to the terminal after his plane landed in Delhi on October 15.

The government has ordered an inquiry and demanded a report from the airline on the incident, which has been compared to the United Airlines outrage where a passenger was brutally dragged down the aisle after being asked to get off a flight.

"In a civilised society, fisticuffs have to be condemned... action has to be taken," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters today.

The video has caused waves of shock and anger against India's most successful budget airline, which saw its stocks plunge 4.5 per cent in the biggest drop in a single trading day since September.

IndiGo put out an apology and said it had fired the staff involved after an inquiry. IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said he had called up the passenger and apologised. "My personal apologies... this does not reflect our culture," he said in a statement.

The passenger, Rajeev Katiyal, has told a television channel that he was waiting for a bus to take him to the terminal after his plane from Chennai landed, when an IndiGo employee "shouted at me in a very rude manner".

In the video, Mr Katiyal, apparently upset over a delay, is seen arguing with employees, who are heard asking him not to use abusive language. When Mr Katiyal tries to get on the coach, he is roughly pulled back and he falls to the ground. He tries to get up, but is pinned down by two employees, one of them smiling. "How dare you... how dare you!" he screams in rage, flailing, kicking and hitting out as the two hold him down.
 
An employee, Montu Kalra, was fired yesterday. He is the one who shot the incident on his mobile phone. The airline says he instigated the row.

Former Air India chief Ashwani Lohani, who now heads the Railway Board, waded into the row and hit out at IndiGo for the "disgusting" and "inhuman" act. He said: "The subsequent action of the airline in sacking the 'whistleblower' is the icing on the cake of gross misconduct."

The assault video has provoked a deluge of social media posts.
 
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha called the incident "deplorable and unfortunate". He also urged the passenger to file a criminal complaint to "enable us to take appropriate action."

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