NEW DELHI: Former Army major Mohammed Ali Shah has accused SpiceJet of religious slur, alleging that the airline staff threatened to complain he was a security threat given his Muslim name. The airline, however, rubbished the allegation and said the issue revolved around his “personal conduct”.
Shah (32) sent a legal notice to SpiceJet and complained to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and DGCA. NCM chief Wajahat Habibullah said, “We have sent a notice to the airline asking for a report. It is a shocking case.”
Shah is the son of former deputy chief of Army staff Lt Gen (retired) Z U Shah who is currently vice-chancellor of AMU. Shah’s uncle is actor Naseeruddin Shah.
Speaking to TOI, Shah said he boarded SpiceJet flight SG 893 at Delhi airport on June 28. “After all the passengers boarded the flight to Guwahati, a SpiceJet employee told me rudely to deboard and identify my baggage.” He said he wasn’t aware of such a requirement.
“I got off the aircraft and was shocked to see my suitcase lying open, its lock broken. Some of my belongings were damaged and some missing,” Shah said.
He alleged SpiceJet staff was abusive and told him to give in writing that his baggage was in order and would not hold the airline responsible for any loss or damage.
“They threatened to deplane me if I didn’t. When I objected, the SpiceJet staff said he would report that I was a security threat. Given my Muslim name, nobody would doubt his report. I was aghast,” Shah said.
He complained to SpiceJet India CEO Neil Raymond Mills who wrote back, “This entire issue resolves (sic) around your personal conduct so please do not bring religion or background into the issue, as this is totally irrelevant.”
A SpiceJet spokesperson said, “After repeated requests, Shah came down from the aircraft and refused to identify the baggage and check its contents, rather, he started taking photographs and recording video of the baggage. (He) was requested to discontinue the videography/photography since… (this) was strictly prohibited. However, despite repeated requests, he continued.”