PUDUCHERRY: An Indian national and a permanent resident of Singapore, lodged a complaint with Air India authorities on Sunday demanding action against a security staff of Air India, who he alleged, had harassed and threatened him while he was flying back to Singapore on an Air India flight, from the Tiruchy International Airport.
The complainant, Sriram Surath Kumar (20), a permanent resident of Singapore and a frequent flier, had in his petition stated the he had to board the Singapore-bound Air India flight IX-682 at the Tiruchy international airport on February 8, and was proceeding for baggage screening before the flight.
During this time, Manoharan, a security staff of Air India had stopped him, and allegedly told Sriram in a very rude manner that his baggage had to be checked.
Sriram had explained to the official that he was only carrying some sacred stones (Salagaram), seven in number, purchased from Madurai. This was the very purpose of his visit to India. The sacred stones, Sriram explained, was to be used for a pooja associated with Maha Shivaratri, at his home in Singapore.
Despite all explanations, Manoharan shot back saying he had not heard of such a sacred stone in all his life, and had said that he suspected Sriram of carrying some grenades. Since the receipt for purchase of the stones was with his relative, Sriram could not explain his case in a better manner.
All this time, Manoharan kept picking up the stones and tossing it them in the air, which, all the more irritated Sriram.
Finally, Manoharan reportedly told Sriram that even if he was able to produce the receipt, he would not allow him to carry the stones with him.
Manoharan had also used unparliamentary words during their interaction, claimed Sriram.
Finally, after prolonged persuasion, which went to the extent of Sriram even apologising to Manoharan, the latter relented and allowed Sriram to board the flight to Singapore.
When contacted, S Bashyam, Airport Manager, Air India, said that as he was out of station, and that he had not come across any such complaints.
However, he assured that a proper enquiry would be conducted into the matter.
Way back in 2007 , a user called Meiyappan had in a blog titled ‘Tiruchian’, alleged that passengers would be asked to pay duty “even if they are entitled to import some goods without duty”, but the claims could not be verified.