A Mumbai-based passenger on board an IndiGo Airlines flight to Delhi allegedly turned violent and assaulted passengers after an argument with a woman co-traveller turned ugly on Wednesday.
According to airline sources, the altercation broke out when a woman passenger complained that Murshalin Shiekh, 40, was staring at her reflection in the aircraft window.
When the airline crew addressed the complaint, Shiekh, a car dealer in Mumbai, allegedly turned violent, began screaming and even tried to manhandle her.
Confirming the incident, an airline spokesperson said, “The passenger got violent with other passengers on flight and tried to enter the cockpit. The airline crew made appropriate announcements and deployed security measure to block access to the front of the aircraft and the front galley was secured.”
Sources also claimed that the passenger began banging his head and there was a threat that he could attempt to open one of the aircraft doors.
The spokesperson added that the airline would lodge a first information report (FIR) with the local police in Delhi.
Meanwhile, the pilot in command informed security agencies at Delhi’s IGI airport to provide security deployment at the tarmac. Minutes after the flight landed, Shiekh was handed over to the police.
“We have taken the passenger in our custody. We will book him under a criminal offence based on a formal complaint from the airline,” said JS Deswal, deputy general of police, IGI airport.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) mooted a policy demanding severe punishment against unruly fliers in 2010, but the proposal is still pending with the civil aviation ministry.
According to the DGCA’s proposal. such offenders should be fined for Rs. 5 lakh and get a jail term up to one year. Currently, they are booked under bailable offence or let off with a fine of Rs. 1,200.