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Pistol shooter Manu Bhaker demands action against AI employees for alleged harassment

Shooter Manu Bhaker   | Photo Credit: AP

19-year-old Commonwealth Games and Youth Olympics gold medallist pistol shooter Manu Bhaker has demanded action against two Air India employees for allegedly “harassing” and “insulting” her while trying to board a Bhopal-bound flight from Delhi.

“Not allowing me to board flight AI 437 at IGI Delhi and asking now 10200rs Despite all valid Documentation and DGCA permit . Top of that Manoj Gupta Air india incharge and other staff is humiliating me despite I have 2 guns and ammunition,” she wrote tagging Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri.

Ms. Bhaker eventually boarded the aircraft on the evening of February 19 after the intervention of Mr. Kiren Rijiju, who called her “India’s pride”..

Ms. Bhaker, one of the country’s biggest medal prospects at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games, thanked Mr. Rijiju for his prompt intervention. She sought action against the Air India officials at Delhi airport.

The air carrier wrote, “Dear Ms Bhaker Our Delhi Airport team has confirmed that the official at our counter had only sought for valid documents as per rules for carriage of your weapon on board.”

Air India apologised for the conduct of of its staff later.

“They should be held accountable for the harassment and insult I endured, as trying to save their officials (Manoj Gupta and another security person of the airline) will only further damage Air India’s reputation,” Ms. Bhaker told PTI from Bhopal.

She added, “Air India is now claiming that they were just asking for documents and doing their job but I am sure everything was captured by the CCTV cameras. You can check... They snatched my mobile and deleted the picture which my mother clicked as the harassment went on.”

“Ma’am we are really sorry that you have faced inconvenience while travelling with us. We request you to kindly share details of the issue along with your contact details over DM for us to assist you,” Air India tweeted.

Ms. Bhaker said she had to go through the “ordeal” despite carrying all valid documents and clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for travelling with her weapons and ammunition.

“But then they refused to recognise even DGCA and when I told them that I travel frequently with my ammunition and that I am a shooter who is going to represent India in Olympics, they said ‘whether you play in nationals or Olympics it doesn’t matter to us’. Their conduct was unacceptable, I mean at least give some respect to athletes and don’t insult them. The main problem was not money but his behaviour. The Ministry takes care of all our expenses,” she said.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 10:52:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/pistol-shooter-manu-bhaker-demands-action-against-ai-employees-for-alleged-harassment/article33886430.ece

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