The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

July 19, 2012

Spicejet accused of discriminating with Muslim ex-army official after disembarking him, victim gives legal notice to low-cost private airlines

Communal courier: Low-cost service hits a new low
Private airline Spicejet has been accused of misbehaving and discriminating with an ex-Indian army major, who was forced to deplane.

The victim Mohammad Ali Shah, said that he was given a 'threat' that his name (read Muslim) was enough for the airlines staff to term him a security threat and then no one would believe him.

Shah, who is the son of Lieutenant Gneral ZU Shah (now Vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University) and nephew of movie star Nasiruddin Shah, has now made a formal complaint with the National Minorities' Commission about the religious bias.

Shah was taken off the flight for 'security reasons' and when he protested, he faced the communal slur. Shah who spells his complete name as Mohammad Ali Shah said that his agent booked the ticket in the name Ali Shah, but this led to the staff exceeding their brief and forcing him to leave the plane.

If this was not enough, he faced communal abuse.  The issue hit media headlines when NDTV journalist Kashish's report was taken up as an issue on Barkha Dutt's 'The Buck Stops Here'. The incident occurred on June 28.

Ali Shah was about to take flight from Delhi go Guwahati. Shah says that suddenly he was asked to come out of the plane, without telling him reason to deboard. When he came down, he found his baggage open and tampered. When he asked about it, he was told that it had to be identified. 

Meanwhile, plane flew without him and when he protested, he was told that he should forget whatever happened as any complaint against him would not be doubted because of his name. Shah says he was ready to forget and forgive as he was offered a free ticket the next day. 

But when he arrived the next day, he was told that he will have to give it in writing that Spicejet didn't board him rather he was made to alight because of his own personal misconduct and that racial bias shouldn't be mentioned. 

Ali Shah's lawyer has served legal notice terming it as 'blackmailing on part of Spicejet staff' who were not even authorised to do the security personnel's job'.  Shah has written to airlines regulator also other than NCM. Spicejet has termed NDTV report as 'incorrect, inaccurate and incomplete version of the entire incident'. 

TIH Bureau

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