I was literally thrown down the steps of the aircraft, says disabled woman

Close on the heels of the incident involving Jeeja Ghosh, a differently-abled woman who was off-loaded from a SpiceJet flight, Anjlee Agarwal suffering from muscular dystrophy has complained of harassment at the hands of Jet Airways personnel.

Ms. Agarwal is an executive director and access consultant with Samarthyam, National Centre for Accessible Environments.

Acting on her complaint, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has served a show cause notice on Jet Airways and the Director General of Civil Aviation, asking them why such an incident had occurred and what measures were being proposed to prevent its recurrence. They have to respond within 30 days.

Ms. Agarwal was travelling between Delhi and Raipur by Jet Connect flight (9W 2211) on Monday along with a colleague and personal care attendant. At the Delhi airport, she was asked by the boarding pass issuer whether she was “fit to fly.”

“When I asked him what he meant, he stared at me and asked me to sign an indemnity bond. When I refused, he said it was the airline's rule and she could not fly otherwise. I had to sign, as I could not afford to miss the flight,” Ms. Agarwal told TheHindu.

But worse was to come at the Raipur airport. In spite of the airline crew's assurance that an aisle chair would be brought on board, flight supervisor Niranjan Sen insisted that she be lifted bodily by four male loaders, declaring that Raipur did not have aisle chairs.

“I was “ordered” to be bodily lifted till the gate of the aircraft and then transferred to the big wheelchair and then carried down the steps. When I resisted, he [Niranjan Sen] threatened that they will not de-board me and instead will send me back as the flight was returning to Delhi. In the midst of all this commotion, flight attendants asked passengers to board the flight before I de-boarded,” Ms. Agarwal said.

A junior supervisor also accused her of not having put in a request for a wheelchair while booking the tickets. “When I said that I did make a request at the Delhi airport and also while booking tickets, he said ‘wheelchair users cannot book tickets through web booking.' This came as a bigger shock because I had booked tickets online with the wheelchair request,” Ms. Agarwal said.

“The fight continued for 35 minutes and when they realised that I would not give up, a “Jet Airways” aisle chair appeared. I was transferred into the aisle chair and literally thrown down the steps as if they were all trying to get rid of me.”

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 11:52:08 PM |

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