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regular-article-logo Monday, 20 May 2024

Kerala: Flight ban on Pinarayi Vijayan ‘protector’

Jayarajan maintains he had only tried to prevent the two men from attacking CM

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 19.07.22, 03:59 AM
Pinarayi Vijayan.

Pinarayi Vijayan. File photo

Senior CPM leader and Left Democratic Front convener E.P. Jayarajan, who allegedly manhandled two Youth Congress workers on a flight, on Monday confirmed he had been barred from flying Indigo for three weeks.

This is a week longer than the flying ban awarded to the two Youth Congress workers, Farzeen Majeed and Naveen Kumar, arrested last month after an in-flight protest against Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. They are out on bail.

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Jayarajan maintains he had only tried to prevent the two men from attacking Vijayan.

Peeved at the ban, he told reporters on Monday that he and his family would never fly Indigo again.

“My lawyer mailed them (the airline’s internal investigations committee) my responses this morning. (Later) I verified about this ban through their local offices and was told they have been issued notices (about the ban). I am yet to receive a direct communication from the airline,” Jayarajan said.

Local Indigo officials declined comment. Majeed and Kumar confirmed receiving notices about their two-week ban.

Majeed, Kumar and fellow Youth Congress worker Sunith Narayanan had on June 13 boarded an Indigo flight from Kannur to Thiruvananthapuram that had the chief minister on board.

After the aircraft landed and came to a halt, Majeed and Kumar rose from their seats and began walking towards Vijayan while Narayanan started filming the scene from his seat.

Seeing this, Jayarajan got up and blocked the aisle, preventing Majeed and Kumar from getting near Vijayan. The two men shouted: ‘Protest, protest… the chief minister should resign.”

Days earlier, a prime accused in a gold smuggling case had reportedly implicated Vijayan and his family members in the racket.

A video clip circulated on social media and played by TV channels purportedly shows Jayarajan pushing the two men down.

Alerted by the flight crew, ground staff entered the plane, led Majeed and Kumar away and handed them over to airport security. They were later arrested by local police.

Jayarajan told reporters on Monday: “I don’t want their (Indigo’s) service. I don’t want my money to be spent on this corporate company…. Whether it’s international or national, neither my family nor I will travel on Indigo.”

Told that Indigo was the only airline operating flights between his native Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram, Jayarajan retorted: “I will not step on their aircraft even if I have to walk all the way.”

He repeated his claim that the two Youth Congress workers had intended to attack Vijayan and said the airline “should have rewarded me for preventing anything untoward that would have sullied their image”.

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