‘Have Requested Protection for Harassed AI Staff’: Aviation Min
In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday, 24 March, said the ministry has requested authorities to give protection to its crew and their families, who are being harassed by neighbours.
Air India stated on Sunday, 22 March that vigilante resident welfare associations (RWAs) and neighbours were ostracising and calling the police on its crew members, who fly abroad as a part of their duty.
“It is alarming to note that in many localities, vigilante Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and neighbours have started ostracising the crew, obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew travelled abroad in the course of their duty.”Air India Press Release
These "vigilantes" had "conveniently" forgotten that many a spouse, parent, sibling, child and near-and-dear ones were brought home safely from coronavirus-hit countries by the Air India crew, it added.
The national carrier has earned the praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers for rescuing stranded Indians from foreign countries in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, ir India brought back 262 Indians stranded in Rome in a special flight.
"We would like to appeal to all concerned, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to ensure that our crew are treated with the courtesy, respect and freedom that every citizen of this country deserves, especially in light of the fact of their having undertaken flight duties to affected countries to bring back Indian citizens," the airline said.
PM Hails AI Team for Courage
On Monday, 23 March Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the crew of Air India, tweeting:
He tagged a tweet from aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri who said, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," posting a photograph of the crew of Air India Boeing 777 led by Captain Swati Raval and Captain Raja Chauhan who airlifted 263 Indians, mostly students, stranded in Rome.