September 20th, 2016
VIP culture is looming large everywhere in India. While we generally see political leaders and lawmakers adhering to such cultures, this time, the privilege has been subscribed by the controversial self-styled godman Asaram Bapu and his followers.
They created a “ruckus” aboard a Jet Airways Jodhpur-Delhi flight. The Jet Airways Flight W 2552 which was scheduled to fly at 10:30am got delayed to 11:55am, 1:20pm and finally departed at 2:00pm, causing harassment to the passengers who were not even informed about the changes of time.
According to IndiaToday, supporters of Asaram had booked half of the aircraft. The supporters who were in awe of the godman rushed to touch his feet soon after the flight took off from Jodhpur. The incident led to a huge commotion in the flight. Owing to the commotion, the aircraft began to tilt back and forth.
Asaram was travelling to Delhi from Jodhpur jail for medical examinations at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) when the incident occurred. He was assisted in the flight in a wheelchair with at least 15 of his disciples and policemen. After he entered the flight, the boarding started immediately without any official announcement.
The flight took off without any of the mandatory safety instructions air hostesses are supposed to give. What’s more, most of the devotees didn’t take their seats at the time of takeoff. Those who did, didn’t wear seatbelts. The air conditioning of the flight was not working and the passengers had to travel in a hot stuffy atmosphere. Many of them suffered asphyxiation .
Fifteen minutes into the flight, the pilot said a technical glitch had impacted the in-flight cooling. The cooling remained “extremely low”, keeping the flight hot and stuffy throughout. Passengers kept on complaining but none of the flight crew pay heed to it. Water was brought 15 minutes later when it was asked by passengers who were feeling nauseated.
One of the god-man’s disciple asked the flight steward how can non-veg food be served in the flight when their leader is on-board.
The flight turned out to be a nightmare for every other passenger.
Upon landing, his devotees escorted him out of the airport. The situation turned into a chaos as people rushed to fall at his feet.
A source at the Delhi airport said about 20 disciples were handed over to the airport police. But they were let off in a few minutes.
Asaram Bapu was arrested after a 16-year-old girl lodged a police complaint on August 20, 2013, accusing him of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur.
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