BHUBANESWAR: International carrier Air India (AI) on Saturday apologised for an erroneous article published on Jagannath temple at Puri in its in-flight magazine 'Shubh Yatra'.
The article mentioned that non-vegetarian food cooked in the kitchen of the temple. "AI apologises for the error. Our intention was not to hurt the sentiments. Shubh Yatra magazine copies have been removed with immediate effect (sic)," Air India tweeted.
While the matter was highlighted on Friday night by some passengers, it had snowballed into a major issue by Saturday morning. AI's Chairman-cum-Managing Director Ashwin Lohani issued an apology on behalf of the company on Saturday.
"Air India deeply regrets this error and apologises for inadvertently hurting the sentiment of people. Henceforth, Air India will not publish any article by the author. The author has also apologised for the mistake," Air India’s General Manager (Revenue Management and Pricing) Meenakshi Mallik told mediapersons here on behalf of the AI, CMD.
The article titled 'Devotion Can Be Delicious' in the October issue of in-flight monthly magazine stated: 'Said to be the largest in the country, the Jagannath Temple's kitchen in Puri since its inception has an army of 500 cooks and 300 helpers to serve 1,00,000 people every day round the clock, which means almost 285 varieties of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are served every day.'
Strongly reacting to the article, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik described it as unfortunate. "The issue will be taken up strongly with the appropriate authority," he said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan spoke to the CMD of AI over the issue. "Spoke to Ashwani Lohani, CMD @airindiain on ShubhYatra publication issue who assured that corrective actions have already been initiated," Pradhan said in a tweet.
Pradhan advised AI to properly screen the contents before publication. AI assured the Minister that it will do all due diligence in future before releasing contents specially related to religious places.
Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise for the article and take strong action against all those responsible for the mistake.
Earlier in the day, members of Jagannath Sena, an outfit working for protection and promotion of Jagannath culture, staged a demonstration in front of Jagannath Temple to protest against the article published in the magazine of Air India.
Members of the outfit sat on a dharna in front of the temple demanding strong action against Air India officials for the publication of the article.