A 25-year-old male passenger attempted to open one of the doors of an Air India flight from Delhi to London on April 10 and physically assaulted two women cabin crew members, including grabbing one by her hair and slapping the other on her face, which forced the pilot to turn back the aircraft 90 minutes after takeoff.
The aircraft took off at 6.30 a.m. from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, and the pilot decided to turn back when it was overflying Pakistan near Peshawar.
The airline handed over the passenger to the police when the flight landed in Delhi at 11.30 a.m., it said in a statement.
The passenger was identified as Jaskirat Singh Padda, and is a resident of Kapurthala. The police have registered an FIR under Indian Penal Code Sections 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and relevant Sections of the Aircraft Act, 1934.
Altercation with parents
During the flight, the passenger was engaged in a verbal altercation with his parents who were accompanying him. In a “fit of violent rage” he charged towards the door, said airline sources. When he was interrupted, he rattled verbal abuses and physically assaulted two women cabin crew members. He hit one of them so aggressively that she fell on the floor, and also pulled her hair so forcefully that there was a “bunch of hair” in his fist. Both the crew members had to be taken to hospital after the incident.
“We are yet to officially arrest him, but since most of the Sections are non-bailable, he will be arrested soon,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, (IGI) Airport, Devesh Mahla told The Hindu, adding that the police were yet to interrogate him.
The unruly passenger was overpowered with the help of other travellers, and strapped to his seat with the help of a restraining device, said airline sources.
The airline is learnt to have described the passenger as mentally “unwell”, but the police were not fully convinced.
Unruly behaviour inside an aircraft can result in a ban on a passenger of three months to life depending on the severity of the offence.