‘VIP Raj’ Prevails, 3 Offloaded to Accommodate Kiren Rijiju in Flight

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New Delhi: At a time when resentment against “VIP culture” in India has provoked campaigns on social media, it has emerged that an Air India flight was delayed last week for about an hour and a family of three, including a child, was offloaded to accommodate union minister Kiren Rijiju and Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.

On June 24, an Air India flight was about to leave from Leh for Delhi when an Indian Air Force Officer, his wife and child were reportedly asked to get off the plane for last-minute passengers.

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These passengers were Kiren Rijiju, the union minister of state for home, and the Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister, who had rushed to the airport after attending the “Sindhu Darshan” festival in the morning.

They have both denied delaying the flight; instead, they say, Air India had rescheduled the 11.40 am flight and advanced it at short notice. Nirmal Singh has said that he has complained to the home ministry about the pilots, who, he alleged, “were rude and humiliated us.”

Mr Singh admitted that some passengers were offloaded. “Some passengers said they felt inconvenience, we apologised to them,” he told to media house.

But Mr Rijiju says he didn’t realise that passengers were asked out of the plane for him. “If it was done, it is completely wrong and unacceptable,” he told the Press Trust of India from Darjeeling in West Bengal, where he is overseeing relief operations after deaths in landslides.

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