Voiceover: Himmat Shaligram
Scripting: Shorbori Purkayastha
Are we as a society practising inclusivity and showing sensitivity towards people with disabilities? A video from Ranchi airport that went viral on social media platforms recently is raising this question.
This said video captured an incident where a teenage boy with disability was purportedly mistreated by IndiGo airlines. This incident took place on 7 May.
In the video, several passengers in the airport are seen asking the IndiGo staff to let the boy and his family board the flight after they were denied from doing so. The ground staff allegedly said that the child was in a state of panic and would be a threat to other passengers' safety if he was allowed to board.
As the incident caused a furore with many tagging Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia to take action in response to the outrage , the airlines said in a statement that "the ground staff waited for the child to calm down till the last minute, but to no avail".
Soon after, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta also released a statement expressing "sincere regrets over this unfortunate experience" and offered to purchase an electric wheelchair for the boy as a token of appreciation.
He also said that "Having reviewed all aspects of this incident, we as an organisation are of the view that we made the best possible decision under difficult circumstances."
But many felt that while this incident showed an example of the many difficulties that people with disabilities face in navigating a society that is largely driven by an ableist approach, it was also heartwarming to see how common citizens showed awareness and sensitivity in this particular incident and stood up for this teen and his family.
In this episode, you will hear from Dr Sumit Ray, a senior consultant in critical care medicine, who was waiting at the Ranchi airport when the incident took place, witnessing it first hand. He was also seen intervening with the staff on video footage. We will hear from him what exactly happened at the airport that day.
And we also spoke to Prachi Deo, founder of Nayi Disha, an organisation that provides families and primary caregivers of children affected by autism and other developmental disabilities with counselling and guidance. We talk to her about how public spaces and airport staff can be sensitised towards children and adults with disabilities.
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