Yesterday, 5 PM, was an overwhelming experience to witness thousands of people stand in solidarity with healthcare, transport, and delivery workers who are risking their lives every day to serve others during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, minutes after India cheered for the warriors fighting coronavirus, Air India posted a shocking official notice on social media. According to a report by TOI, the Air India crew who have been rescuing Indians stranded in coronavirus-hit spots are being “ostracised” by their neighbours.
Air India is the only airline which is sending its planes to coronavirus hot-spots like China, Italy, and Japan to bring back Indians stuck there during the pandemic.
“It is alarming to note that in many localities, vigilante Resident Welfare Associations and neighbours have started ostracizing the crew, obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew travelled abroad in the course of their duty. These vigilantes have conveniently forgotten that many a spouse, parent, sibling, child and near and dear one have been brought home safe and secure from affected countries, thanks to the heroic efforts of these Air India crew,” wrote Air India.
COVID-19 stickers have been stuck on the doors of Air India crew members by locality authorities.
A member of the Air India crew who wished to remain anonymous said:
“We do not get our salary on time. We do not know when we will get the same. We do not think about ourselves whenever we are called to fly to war zones and now corona hotspots to evacuate Indians. Our salary, which for months has not come on time, is being deducted and on top of this, we are facing this ostracisation from our neighbours and RWAs. We are humans, don’t break us.”
Air India asserted how the airline has taken all precautions to ensure the safety of its crew and protect its passengers from harm. They always have enough hand-sanitizers, masks, and gloves on board. On landing, crew members are sent to hospitals to get themselves checked and then subjected to self-quarantine. Hazmat suits are also stocked in case there is a COVID-19 suspect on board.
“These thorough safety measures have been providing adequate protection to our crew, who have been discharging their duties in as selfless a way like doctors and nurses.”
Finally, Air India requested the public to treat their crew members with respect for risking their lives to save fellow citizens from the pandemic, reports NDTV.
“We would like to appeal to all concerned, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to ensure that our crew are treated with the courtesy, respect and freedom that every citizen of this country deserves especially in light of the fact of their having undertaken flight duties to affected countries to bring back Indian citizens.”
You may have a look at Air India’s official statement here:
#FlyAI : Dear all, we invite your attention towards this press release . Kind cooperation is solicited. pic.twitter.com/cbTGXIr0tP
— Air India (@airindiain) March 22, 2020
#FlyAI : We would like to appeal to all,particularly the law enforcement agencies,to ensure that AirIndia crew are treated with respect and freedom that every citizen deserves, especially those who have been discharging their duties in selfless manner for return of fellow Indians pic.twitter.com/Uthlk57jG3
— Air India (@airindiain) March 22, 2020
Not just Air India, but people working in airports are also trying their best to serve passengers. For example, Delhi Airport workers recently distributed masks and food to passengers patiently waiting in the sitting area, reports India Today.
#DelhiAirport staff providing food & masks to the passengers at T3 arrivals.#JantaCurfew #CoronaUpdatesInIndia #Covid19India #IndiaFightCorona @narendramodi @PMOIndia @MoHFW_INDIA @MoCA_GoI @HardeepSPuri pic.twitter.com/W9gDKCpLL2
— Delhi Airport (@DelhiAirport) March 22, 2020
The entire aviation industry has suffered a major hit due to the coronavirus. They too are risking their lives by flying people from across countries and states. Air India, specifically is doing a heroic job by bringing back stranded fellow Indians to their homes. Let not their efforts go in vain. They too deserve the utmost respect for their service!