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Burqa scare grounds Spicejet flight

A Spicejet flight today made a 'priority landing' in Kolkata after a burqa-clad passenger with a man-like physique aroused the suspicion of crew members on board. Listen to podcast audio
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, Kolkata
UPDATED ON MAY 06, 2010 01:46 AM IST

A woman in a burqa who was mistaken for a man set off a scare on a SpiceJet flight from Pune, forcing it to make a priority landing here.

The plane was taken to an isolation bay and surrounded by Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

The cabin crew pointed towards a person wearing a hijab or veil worn by Muslim women. Her ‘manly’ build raised suspicions that she could actually be a ‘he’.

Finally, women constables of the CISF confirmed that 45-year-old Eleonora Irbaieva and her husband Artur Aslant Bekov, 50, were from Chechnya and had valid passports and visas.

Airport sources said on condition of anonymity that both the passengers on board and the cabin crew panicked, as Irbaieva, who was wearing gloves, did not lift her hijab for once even when drinking water during the three-hour flight.

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