IndiGo refused to board the child with disability at the Ranchi airport, according to a now viral post, which has sparked public anger.
Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said he was “investigating the matter” himself amid anger over IndiGo denying boarding to a child with disability. “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 (sic),” the aviation minister tweeted on Monday morning, sharing a post by a journalist that gave the details of the incident.
The incident happened on Saturday, according to a post that was widely shared on social media by Manisha Gupta, the founder and director of a consultancy called Start Up India.
“Yesterday, at the Ranchi airport, an adolescent with special needs, was in great distress. He had had a very uncomfortable car ride to the airport. By the time he had gone through security check and reached the gate (almost an hour ahead of boarding), he seemed to be in the throes of hunger, thirst, anxiety and confusion,” the post read, calling it an incident of “shame and distress”.
“His parents obviously knew how to handle his meltdown – with patience, some cajoling, some stern-ness, many hugs etc. And the other passengers were stopping by to ask if they needed any help or support. This caught the attention of the #indigoairlines staff, who walked upto the trio, and warned them that he would not let them board, if the child did not quieten down and become ‘normal’. By the time the boarding began, the child had been fed. He had had many sips of juice and water. His parents had successfully given him his medicine and he seemed ready…except for some big displays of general teenage assertiveness. Then we witnessed the full display of brute authority and power,” it said.
The airline refused to board the child, the post said, saying that he could be a risk to others.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Sunday said it was probing this incident. DGCA chief Arun Kumar told news agency PTI that the regulator has sought a report from IndiGo.
Meanwhile, responding to the anger, the airline was quoted as saying by the news agency: “In view of the safety of passengers, a specially-abled child could not board the flight with his family on May 7, 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, it added.
“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 75,000 specially-abled passengers fly with IndiGo every month,” it added.