Supporters of self-styled godman and rape accused Asaram Bapu gave a harrowing time to passengers on a Jodhpur-Delhi Jet Airways flight on Sunday and to police personnel who brought him to the national capital for a medical check-up, The Economic Times has reported.
The flight which was scheduled to take off at 11:55 am was reportedly delayed by about two hours and no announcement was made as passengers were only getting messages on their phones.
According to the report, around 1:30 pm, a group of policemen came and formed a human barricade, separating other passengers from a pathway through which Asaram was brought in on a wheelchair. He was followed by 10-15 of his devotees, who had booked tickets only to accompany him on the flight to Delhi.
As soon as Asaram Bapu came on a wheelchair with his devotees, boarding was announced.
“Immediately after he came, the boarding started. There was no queue. An air hostess screamed an announcement to board the flight,” Swati Daga, a public relations consultant was quoted as saying.
The flight took off without any of the mandatory safety instructions air hostesses are supposed to give. If that wasn’t bad enough, most of the devotees didn’t take their seats at the time of take-off. Those who sat down did not bother about seat belts, insisting that God was with them.
“Seat belt ki kya zaroorat jab swayam bhagwaan hamare saath hain? (What is the need of a seat belt when God Himself is travelling with us?),” one passenger said.
Passengers, however, accused Jet Airways of going out of the way to comfort Asaram at their cost. “Many of us had to stand as his supporters surrounded him and did not allow us to pass,” said another passenger.
The aircraft’s air-conditioning was not working. A passenger Sahiba Gursahaney, a marketing executive was quoted as saying that “On being asked, a steward said the cooling wouldn’t start until all passengers were seated, something none of us had ever heard before.”
The policemen accompanying him failed to pacify Asaram’s supporters and when the situation went out of hand, the godman intervened and requested the passengers to settle down.
“A guest travelling with Jet Airways flight from Jodhpur to Delhi, was ferried to the airport terminal as per the judicial procedures stated by the concerned authorities post landing at Delhi Airport,” Jet Airways spokesperson said, adding that the flight was delayed because of technical reasons.
But the onboard ruckus was not all.
Upon landing, Asaram reportedly said that he would not get off the aircraft without his supporters by his side. The police agreed to his demand, the ET report said.
Adding to the troubles of the police, the airport staff too rushed to seek blessings of the tainted godman. However, no case was registered against Asaram by the police in Delhi.
At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) police had to deploy additional force on Monday to keep his supporters at bay.