A senior pilot of Indian was allegedly beaten up by five CISF jawans at Kolkata airport’s domestic terminal on Tuesday.
The incident has led to a verbal directive by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) telling its members not to operate flights in and out of the city.
Captain Manoj K Singh received bruises on his right arm and left cheek. The former regional secretary of the ICPA did not operate his own flight; he was supposed to fly IC 721 to Bagdogra from Kolkata.
ICPA regional secretary R Khiangte said: “We have issued a countrywide directive to all ICPA members and asked them not to operate any flights in and out of Kolkata till the matter is resolved.”
The directive led to the cancellation of the 5 pm AI flight to Delhi.
The incident occurred around 1.30 pm, said Singh, when he was crossing the security hold area with his strolley. He was stopped by a CISF officer who told him he could not board the flight with his oversized bag. “I told him I have been carrying this bag for 15 years and it has not been an issue at any other airport. I also said passenger rules for cabin baggage do not apply to crew members or cabin crew members,” Singh told HT.
According to Singh, at this point five CISF jawans surrounded him. “It appeared to be a bit awkward and I asked them why they have surrounded me.” One replied he would stand wherever he pleases. The jawan was reportedly told by his senior not to shout but he would not listen. He also reportedly pushed and shoved the captain and abused him verbally.
“The jawan called me ‘you bloody driver,’” said Singh, admitting that after this he lost his temper and slapped the jawan. At this four to five jawans started beating him up.
CISF spokesperson Rohit Katiyar denied Singh had been beaten up.
“After an altercation, the pilot slapped one of our personnel,” Katiyar said. “We have registered a complaint with the police and the incident is recorded on CCTV footage. Our personnel didn’t beat him up, it is total fabrication.”
But an Air India spokesperson said that CISF personnel “started using objectionable and derogatory language. He was calling the pilot a driver”.
Singh, too, has lodged a complaint at the airport police station.