New Delhi: A former Major-rank officer has alleged that he was discriminated against and harassed by the staff of SpiceJet because of his being a Muslim, a charge denied by the airline which said a "religious colour" was being given to an incident.
Major Mohammad Ali Shah, who served in Indian Army as a Short Service Commissioned officer, has complained to the National Minority Commission (NCM), which is probing the matter.
"I was singled out on account of my religion and subjected to humiliation at the hands of the employees of SpiceJet including being insulted and manhandled," Ali said.
In his complaint to the National Minority Commission (NCM) chief Wajahat Habibullah, he has given a detailed account of the incident stating that his mails to the Managing Director of SpiceJet Kalanidhi Maran were also not replied.
Shah was booked on a Guwahati-bound SpiceJet flight on June 28. "After boarding the flight I was asked by an official to identify my baggage, which is not a normal procedure. When I came out of the flight I found my baggage completely ransacked," he said.
Son of Aligarh Muslim University's (AMU) Vice Chancellor Lt General ZU Shah and nephew of film star Naseeruddin Shah, Ali claimed that he was also asked by airline to submit a letter saying that he was not allowed to board the plane because of his own misconduct.
Replying to Ali's legal notice, SpiceJet acuused him of being "unruly and non-cooperative" and taking "illegal" video footage of the tarmac area when he was asked to identify his baggage.
The airline also said, "Mr Shah, who claims himself to be an ex-army officer, is now seeking to give a religious colour to the incident in order to justify his illegal actions."
Stating that Ali has travelled with SpiceJet on numerous occasions, the reply added, "At no point of time Mr Shah was threatened, manhandled or humiliated by our staff."
Habibullah said, "We have asked for a report from SpiceJet on the complaint of former Major Mohammad Ali Shah that he was victimized for being a Muslim by SpiceJet officials during his New Delhi-Guwahati flight last month."
Observing that the issue is distressing and disappointing, Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "I hope that it had not happened. I hope it is a misunderstanding and I certainly hope that this will not lead to any further aggravation of attitudes, perception and of relationship between people."