New Delhi: In a shocking incident, ground staff of IndiGo Airlines physically assaulted and manhandled a 53-year-old passenger at Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.
The passenger identified as Rajeev Katiyal arrived at the IGI Airport by flight 6E-487.
After alighting from the flight, Katiyal got into an argument with the ground staff over some issue and allegedly abused them.
Twenty-three days after the incident, IndiGo airlines apologised to the passenger after a video, shot by a person at the scene came to the public domain.
The 81-second-long video shows Indigo staff misbehaving with the passenger.
Katiyal said, “I was standing under the shade of the aeroplane waiting for the bus when a person from the ground staff yelled at me and asked me to move away.”
To which, Katiyal replied, “Instead of yelling, why can’t you arrange the bus for us.”
Riled up, the IndiGo employee rudely replied saying, “Don’t teach us our job.” Katiyal narrated the unfortunate incident to a TCV news channel.
When Katiyal tried to board the bus, which came up to the runway, the IndiGo staff pushed him back and stopped him from entering it. When he protested, he was dragged and manhandled due to which he fell to the ground.
The video shows that one person from the Indigo staff said to the other, “Isko rok yahan par, isko yahin sikhaate hai (Stop this man here, let us teach him a lesson).” No security personnel came to the rescue of the Katiyal, who was being pushed and virtually choked near the aeroplane in broad daylight.
IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said in a statement: “I acknowledge the unpleasant experience our passenger went through, while engaging with our staff at the IGI Airport. I had personally spoken to the passenger and asked for an apology. At IndiGo, the dignity of our passengers and staff is of paramount importance. Any act that compromises the dignity of either of us is a concern to us. Under the code of conduct violation, this incident was probed and action was taken against the staff.”
The employee who assaulted Katiyal and the airline staff, who was believed to have shot the incident on his phone, have been sacked.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said he had sought a report from the airline and called the incident "deplorable and unfortunate".
He also urged the passenger to file a criminal complaint to "enable us to take appropriate action."
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.
Lohani said, "The shameful manhandling by two airline (IndiGo) employees in beating up a passenger on the tarmac is inhuman, disgusting to say the least and not at all acceptable in a civilized society. The subsequent action of the airline in sacking the whistleblower is the icing on the cake of gross misconduct."