June 21, 2007

Offloading Rajeev: Buffeted by Unfriendly Skies

CNN–IBN hosted a panel comprising an aviation expert and disability activists on the show India 360 to discuss the treatment of Rajiv Rajan By Air Sahara.

Here is bit of the report from IBN:

Via Disability News India:

Rajiv with cerebral palsy – which essentially means a brilliant mind caged inside a disobedient body – was denied permission to fly Air Sahara, which is now called JetLite after Jet Airways took over the airline, on Monday. The passenger was also made to wait at the airport for three long hours in spite of his special condition.

Does this mean the airlines violated the dignity of Rajan? Should action be taken against the airline for preventing disabled people from flying? These were questions discussed by
The Director General of Civil Aviation has already served a notice on the airline, asking for an explanation on the treatment meted out to Rajiv Rajan. On its part, the airline pulled out the rulebook to defend itself, saying Rajiv was not allowed to board the aircraft in compliance with the rules of International Air Transport Association.

"If they are not accompanied by somebody, or they don't have a certificate to certify themselves medically fit to fly, then under IATA regulations, it would be inappropriate to board them," Garry Kingshott, Ceo of JetLite, says.

But Rajiv claims he doesn't need a fit to fly certificate. "Fit to fly certificate is meant for medically ill people, not for disabled people. I thought they were going to push me off my wheelchair. So, I left and called the police," he says.

Rajiv says this was not his first brush with such discrimination. In fact, he had suffered at the hands of Jet earlier as well. The treatment meted out to Rajiv has now thrown open a debate about equality and right to dignity of disabled people and also about the discrimination faced by these people in their day to day life.


Posted by rollingrains at June 21, 2007 11:17 PM