In an other incident of discrimination against the differently-abled in the country, a passenger who was differently-abled has alleged that Air India made her to “crawl” to the passenger coach. Anita Ghai, Associate Professor, Delhi University, took the Alliance Air (Air India’s regional arm) flight from Dehradun on January 29, with four of her colleagues and requested for a wheel-chair. “Despite my repeated requests, the air hostess did not recognise my requirement for a wheelchair after reaching. The flight reached at 7.30 p.m. I waited patiently with one of my friends,” she said.
Anita said that she realised that there was no chance of getting a wheelchair. The passanger coach came at 8.30 p.m after requests from the flight commander. “Since security was one of the serious issues, they made me crawl to go to the coach,” she alleged. She also took to Facebook and expressed her ordeal. The professor is also a disability activist working for the empowerment of differently-abled people in the country.
At time when the government called for the empowerment of disabled people in the country, such an incident is an eye-opener for the whole country. However, this is not the first incident that has happened in India.
Last year, a differently-abled Nipun Malhotra was denied entry by the authorities of restaurant in DLF Promenade Mall where he came with his friends to enjoy.
In fact, some disability activists believe that differently-abeld people face harassment and discrimination on large scale which sometimes go unreported. Ghai wrote: “They love to humiliate us as we are DIVYUNG. We are divine bodies, so crawling is the mode with which we can go anywhere,”
However Air India denied these allegations. They said that they always give importance to passenger’s safety and comfort. Air India authorities said that the ATR aircraft was parked at a distant bay, so it took some time to bring the wheelchair to the airline. “Since passengers were getting down from the aircraft, our support staff actively helped the passenger to come out of the plane and the wheelchair was provided at the doorstep,” they said. Ghai slammed the Air India’s reply and said the airline was ‘blatantly lying’ and asserted that she is contemplating legal action. “I complained for a reason and not they are denying what happened. They are blatant liars. It was a case of complete negligence and I was traumatised. They should just acknowledge their mistake. If they don’t I will ensure they don’t do this again to disable people, just because we are vulnerable,” she said.