12 detained for mid-air protest on IndiGo flight headed for Madurai

Updated on Mar 31, 2019 08:18 AM IST

Twelve men who staged the protest inside the airborne plane were detained by Madurai police after the flight, 6E 7195, landed on Saturday.

12 detained for mid-air protest on IndiGo flight headed for Madurai
12 detained for mid-air protest on IndiGo flight headed for Madurai
Chennai | ByM Manikandan

Protests by political activists are nothing new to Tamil Nadu, but this one was notable for the venue where it was staged — an IndiGo flight headed from Chennai to Madurai.

Twelve men who staged the protest inside the airborne plane were detained by Madurai police after the flight, 6E 7195, landed on Saturday.

“The flight left Chennai airport at noon, and before it reached Madurai, the 12 stood from their seats to raise slogans. As we received a complaint from the Airport Authority of India and IndiGo flight officials, we have held the 12 people who protested inside the flight,” an inquiry officer with the Madurai District Police administration said on condition of anonymity.

The protesters, who belonged to a Thevar caste group, were demanding that the Madurai airport be renamed after U Muthuramalinga Thevar, an icon of the community and a member of Parliament from All India Forward Block (AIFB), who died in 1963.

According to Madurai Police, the 12 were associated with the Bharatiya Forward Block, a splinter of the AIFB led by Muruganji , who was present during the protest.

Additional superintendent of police Narasimma Varman confirmed that the incident had take n place but said he did not have more details because he was on election duty.

The demand for renaming Maurai international airport is not new. In February, Thevar groups including the All India Forward Block and the Mukkulathu Puligal, among others, led a rail blockade protest in Madurai over the demand. Parliamentarian Subramanian Swamy of the Bharatiya Janata Party, too, has raised the issue in parliament in the past.

Swamy hails from Madurai district’s Sholavandhan, where a large number of people from the Thevar community reside.

“I have tried my best to name Madurai airport after Thevar. However, the state government is not ready,” Swamy told journalists last week.

All 12 protesters were later let off by the police.

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