Editor of Milli Gazette accuses Indigo airlines ground staff of religious profiling

By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwCircles.net

New Delhi: Dr Zafar-ul-Islam Khan, ex president of All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM), the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations and editor of the The Milli Gazette has accused Indigo airlines of religious profiling and mistreatment while he was traveling from Lucknow to Delhi on January 1, 2016.

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According to Dr Khan, he was flying back to Delhi after heading a fact-finding team to Kushinagar.

“At Lucknow airport, I was subjected to religious profiling by the ground staff. I alone was made to place my hand-bag on the weighing scale which showed that it was just over 10 kgs. But I was told that the maximum weight allowed for hand-baggage is only seven kgs. I offered that I can take out some of my stuff like lap-top and carry it in hand. But unfortunately, this was flatly rejected and the only option given to me was to check in the hand-baggage for which I was not ready,” claimed Dr Khan.

The Indigo ground staff refused to repeated requests of Dr Khan and forced him to carry some of his stuff in an unsafe and unsecured bag.


“I observed that many people were carrying heavy and had up to three handbags.”
On his arrival in Delhi airport, the editor lodged a complaint with the ground staff of Indigo, alleging their Lucknow staff of subjecting him to religious profiling due to his beard.

The issue has ensued social media backlash with many condemning the callous approach of Indigo Airlines staff.

“Shame on you, IndiGo, for having subjected the distinguished editor of Milli Gazette to humiliating and discriminatory treatment,” wrote Jay N Jayaram on the IndiGo Facebook page.

“Stop harassing the editor-What happened at Airport-It’s Racial profiling-why others were ok with heavier baggage and only he was hold-He is not asking for compensation of any kind-You guy are smart, call the airline and it’s staff to all over India/ that this should not happen in future. And we all thanks to Mr. Editor Saab, may you be more strong,” wrote netizen, Mushtaq Artani.

Realising the gravity of the situation, the Indigo official account took to the official page of The Milli Gazette and wrote: “Our customer relations team spoke to Dr Khan. As discussed with him, our staff was trying to implement the policy. However, we’ll certainly share his feedback with our concerned team. We regret the inconvenience caused.”

While briefing TwoCircles.net about the latest development on the issue, Dr Khan said, “I received a call from Indigo Airlines yesterday. They apologised for the incident and said that they were enforcing the rules but I objected to this notion and asked them that rules should be applied uniformly instead of enforcing it on single person. I am adamant on my stand that they resorted to religious profiling.”

“Even today, I received an email from them and they acknowledged that their staff could have handled the situation in a more polite manner. I am not impressed by their verbiage and standard reply. My sole point was and remains that I was singled out and forced to take out some of my stuff and place it in an unsecured bag in order to satisfy the inflated egos of your staff at Lucknow airport while I failed to see any other passenger being asked to place his/her hand-baggage on the weighing scale, and I saw dozens of fellow-passengers carrying heavy and more than one hand baggage, in some cases three pieces,” Dr Khan asserted.

Meanwhile, the customer service department of Indigo airlines while acknowledging the complaint said, “We are in touch with Dr Khan and even we have wrote him an email.we hope that this issue will be solved very soon,” supervising staff from customer care department of Indigo Airlines told TwoCircles.net.