New Delhi – VIJAY SHAH via ALIX CULBERTSON and Sky News
The UK national air carrier British Airways (BA) has been accused of racism after a family hailing from India was evicted from a flight after a child in their group would not stop crying, reported Sky News.
The child’s father claims he was subjected to ‘humiliation and racist behaviour’ and Indians are demanding a boycott of the airline, according to the report.
The father, AP Pathak, a civil servant, was travelling with his family from London City Airport to Berlin on the 23rd July, 2018, was placing his three-year-old son in a special child seat when the infant began to cry. Pathak’s wife began consoling the child. It was at that point that Pathak alleged a cabin crew member approached them and threatened to throw the child out of one of the plane’s windows while directly scolding the little boy.
The crew member then returned a second time where he also said the family would be ‘offloaded’ if the child refused to stop crying. The response of the unnamed crew member was said to have left the Pathaks ‘petrified’, Sky News reported.
The plane was then returned to the terminal, where security officers boarded it. The Pathaks were approached and were forced to give up their boarding passes. Another family, also Indian, were also relieved of their passes. Both families were then marched off the aircraft.
In a complaint letter about the flight written to India’s aviation minister, Suresh Prabhu, the father also claimed that the same crew member also made racial comments about ‘bloody’ Indians.
Representatives of BA have claimed the Pathaks were repeatedly asked to sit their son down and fasten his seatbelt for safety reasons, otherwise the plane would not have been able to take off.
The controversy has made headlines in the media in India, where many have urged Indians to stay away from BA. Some critics on social media described the treatment of the two families as ‘shameful’. A small number though said that BA was right in their decision to remove the Pathaks, with one saying “I don’t feel bad about this at all, we Indians don’t respect or value our Indian resources, be it trains or airplanes, this is good learning for us”. Another, identified as Khushi tweeted: “Indian parents start howling too when kids start howling – three-year-olds outside India are taught how to behave socially.”
“Indian family thrown off British Airways flight over ‘crying child’ ” – Alix Culbertson, Sky News/Sky UK (9 August 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/indian-family-thrown-off-british-airways-flight-over-crying-child-11466706
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