Kerala: EP Jayarajan counters IndiGo flight ban with ‘dirty and substandard’ jibe

IndiGo banned Jayarajan following allegations that he maltreated two Youth Congress activists who shouted slogans on a flight.

ByK A Shaji

Published Jul 18, 2022 | 5:05 PM Updated Jul 28, 2022 | 12:45 PM

EP Jayarajan

Senior CPI(M) leader EP Jayarajan on Monday, 18 July, flew into a rage against IndiGo, hours after the airline announced it had effectively grounded the convenor of Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) for three weeks over an incident from last month.

He told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that he would not board IndiGo flights anymore because its flights were “dirty and substandard”.

This came after an internal inquiry committee of IndiGo handed him a travel ban after investigating the allegation that he attempted to maltreat two Youth Congress activists on 13 June when they shouted slogans at Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a flight soon after it landed in Thiruvananthapuram.

Jayarajan on the offensive

“I would prefer to go anywhere by foot rather than travelling by that dirty aircraft,” an angry Jayarajan, known as the strongman of the CPI(M) citadel Kannur, told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

“They don’t know who I am,” he added. “If they had known me, they might have given me an award of courage for protecting Vijayan’s precious life.”

Jayarajan claimed the ban on him was “illegal and against the spirit of natural justice”.

He said: “Nothing will happen to me if I do not travel by IndiGo. Many other companies operate flights decently. I will travel only by those flights.”

Flight ban details

Jayarajan said he had cancelled an upcoming booking for him and his wife on an IndiGo flight.

He added that IndiGo flights often meet with accidents, which was also why he was avoiding the airline.

IndiGo permitted the travelling of the two Youth Congress workers without verifying their criminal background, he alleged, adding that it was a severe security breach.

“Now the company is punishing me by hearing the versions of criminals who face court proceedings in over 18 cases,” said Jayarajan.

The chief minister’s life was saved only because of his interference, said the LDF convenor.

Jayarajan reiterated that he received no formal communication from IndiGo on the travel ban.

The two youths, against whom the Kerala Police have levied attempted-murder cases, are now out on bail, but will face a travel ban for two weeks.

When contacted, the Youth Congress workers said they received the notice issued on Saturday.

In the meantime, former Congress legislator KS Sabarinadhan received a summons from the Thiruvananthapuram City Police to appear before them on Tuesday concerning a complaint against him for conspiring with the two youths to facilitate the protest.