Indian Olympian and shooter Manu Bhaker was allegedly refused permission to board an Air India flight from Delhi today unless she coughed up over Rs 10,000 as she was carrying weapons and ammunition for her training. Ms Bhaker was able to board her flight to Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, only after Union Minister Kiren Rijiju intervened.
Ms Bhaker took to Twitter this evening to share her ordeal and posted a picture of herself at the Delhi airport, saying: “Not allowing me to board flight AI 437 at IGI Delhi and asking now Rs 10,200. Despite all valid Documentation and DGCA permit. Top of that Manoj Gupta, Air India in-charge, and other staff is humiliating me… despite I have two guns and ammunition. @KirenRijiju @HardeepSPuri waiting sir?”
She added: “At least don’t insult players every time and please don’t ask for money.”
IGI Delhi .Going to Bhopal (MP Shooting Acadmy
For my training i need to carry weapons and ammunition, Request @airindiain Officials to give little respect or at least don’t Insult players every time &please don’t ask money. I Have @DGCAIndia permit @HardeepSPuri@VasundharaBJPpic.twitter.com/hYO8nVcW0z
— Manu Bhaker (@realmanubhaker) February 19, 2021
The shooter said she was asked for money at the airport despite having all documents in place and permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to carry the weapons. She said she needed the weapons for her training at the Madhya Pradesh Shooting Academy.
She tagged Union Ministers Kiren Rijiju and Hardeep Singh Puri in her post, asking for their help to board the flight.
“Manoj Gupta (Air India official) is treating me like I am a criminal. Also his security in-charge. Such people need basic training of behaviour hopefully aviation ministry will find out…,” she wrote on Twitter, sharing a picture of the Air India official who allegedly “harassed” her.
Ms Bhaker was finally able to board the flight after some time and thanked Kiren Rijiju for his help, to which the minister replied: “You are India’s pride @realmanubhaker.”
You are India’s pride @realmanubhaker ????????
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 19, 2021
The shooter later called out Air India in a post and asked for action against the officials. “If you @airindiain will try to save culprits Manoj Gupta and that security person who’s pic I shared. You will further damage reputation of Air India. They even snatched my mobile and deliberately deleted pic which my mother snapped during harassment.”