Sikh hotel worker made to get off Qantas flight

Harminder Mavi was made to get off after passengers thought he could be a terrorist.
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Updated on Mar 15, 2007 04:55 PM IST
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IANS | By, Sydney

The Indian community in Queenstown is upset after a Sikh hotel worker was made to get off a Qantas flight last week as some passengers thought he could be a terrorist.

Harminder Singh Mavi had boarded a routine Qantas flight between Queenstown and Auckland March 7, but was requested to disembark minutes before the flight took off.

"I was shocked and I left the plane because I was a bit afraid someone might take my turban off. I was embarrassed. I had not done anything," Mavi said.

"People either side of me were saying they don't want me on here. One of the ladies told another guy that she was not comfortable with me on the plane," he added.

Mavi is planning to leave Queenstown because of the embarrassing incident.

Upset members of Queenstown's Indian community have urged him to file a complaint with the human rights commission and consider suing Qantas, according to

Fellow Queenstown Sikh Maninderjit Singh Sandhu, who owns Little India restaurant, labelled the incident "deplorable".

"I'm here for the last five-and-a-half years, lived in Auckland and Christchurch, and I've never experienced (such behaviour). I used to say to people it's such a good community, such good people, you never even feel like you're away from home," his flatmate Aman Dhillon added. "I never expected this."

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