After outrage over an incident of alleged discrimination against a child with disability by IndiGo airlines, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday, 9 May, said in a tweet, "There is zero tolerance towards such behaviour. No human being should have to go through this! Investigating the matter by myself, post which appropriate action will be taken."
Scindia's tweet comes after a child with disability was reportedly mistreated by IndiGo airlines on Saturday, with the staff disallowing the child and his parents to board the plane, allegedly stating that the child was a threat to other passengers' safety.
The Union minister shared a fellow passenger's account of the incident, which asked for "strictest action" against the airlines.
Meanwhile, later on Monday, IndiGo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ronojoy Dutta issued a statement over the incident, and said, "We offer our sincere regrets to the affected family for the unfortunate experience."
Further, the CEO said, "As a small token of appreciation, IndiGo would like to offer electric wheelchair for child barred from boarding flight."
NCPCR Takes Cognisance of the Incident
Meanwhile, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said in a tweet, “An incident of misbehaviour with a specially-abled child by staff of IndiGo at Ranchi airport has come out. Cognisance is being taken for appropriate action.”
The matter came to light after Manisha Gupta, a fellow passenger, wrote about the incident in an elaborate Facebook post, describing the family's ordeal. The post shared on 7 May has over 800 shares.
She shared a video of the passengers engaged in a heated debate with the IndiGo staff as well.
More About the Incident
Gupta said in the post that the child seemed distressed as he had an uncomfortable ride to the airport. While his parents were attending to him, an IndiGo staff member came up to them and warned that he wouldn't be allowed to board if he didn't become 'normal.'
However, after some time, the ground staff came and said the boy wouldn't be allowed to travel.
She added, "The Indigo staff announced that the child would not be allowed to take the flight. That he was a risk to other passengers. That he would have to become 'normal' before he could be travel-worthy. And the staff then went on to state something on the lines of 'behaviours such as this, and that of drunk passengers deems them unfit to travel."
Child Was 'In a State of Panic': IndiGo
Following the incident, the airline, in a statement, said, "In view of the safety of passengers, a specially-abled child could not board the flight with his family on 7 May, as he was in a state of panic. The ground staff waited for him to calm down till the last minute, but to no avail."
"The airline made the family comfortable by providing them hotel stay, and the family flew the next morning to their destination. We regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers. IndiGo prides itself on being an inclusive organisation, be it for employees or its customers; and over 75k specially-abled passengers fly with IndiGo every month," the statement further read, Hindustan Times reported.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times.)