An Italian DJ has alleged assault and mistreatment by Air India's ground staff at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) on Sunday. Taking to Facebook, the DJ, Olly Esse, said that her flight was delayed by nine hours and she got no response when she went to the gate to ask for help – and was instead slapped by a staff member. Air India has denied the allegations, while the police say the CCTV footage of the incident shows a scuffle but no assault.
"I went to the help point like everyone else. Someone had a baby in a hospital, while another lady was crying because her mother passed away and she should have been in Mumbai to take care of her funeral, while others had work," Olly narrated.
The DJ said that she then walked up to the counter of Air India and asked her for help, but did not get any response. When the DJ asked again, she alleged that the woman at the counter replied rudely and claimed that it was not her job.
When the DJ took out her phone and threatened to file a complaint with the airline, she alleged that the ground staff slapped her and her cell phone fell from her hand.
"I literally started to scream from pain. After that, as soon as I took the name and surname of the woman and tried to go to the police station and file the case, the Inspector was not even there, and when I asked for help of the security at the airport, they literally started to laugh at my face. I've tried to ask for mercy and help and no one cared," Olly wrote. She also alleged that manager didn't assist her.
"It hurts to know and understand that police station was treating my request for help with a smile on their face and saying they can't do anything because the inspector was not there. The sadistic smile on the face of the manager of Air India when she was looking at me just indicated the level of your professional treatment… I am heartbroken. All the people who could help me out with just left me alone and treated me with so much disrespect that I can't breathe," Olly alleged.
An Air India spokesperson denied the allegation, saying, “The passengers were agitated that flight was delayed due to technical issues. The ground staff is outsourced to an external agency. When this DJ asked one person for help, she was asked to go to another counter. An Indian behind the DJ took offense and started saying we need to treat foreigners better, and a little scuffle started. When DJ tried to film the incident, the staff at the desk said that she did not consent to being filmed, and got up. By mistake, her hand hit the DJ’s hand and the phone fell down.”
The RGIA Police Inspector han initially said on Twitter that he was available at the police station and later enquiries revealed that the DJ had approached a police constable on guard duty. Apologising for the inconvenience, the Inspector also shared his contact number and said that they were ready to file a case if the DJ filed a complaint with them.
Good afternoon madam— RGI Airport Police Station (@psrgia_cyb) August 19, 2018
I Mahesh Inspector of Police RIGA PS
I am very much available in the police station since morning. I enquired and came to know that you met a special police constable. Since he is on gaured duty he might have informed you to visit PS RGIA in shamshabad.
Police sources meanwhile told TNM that they have checked the CCTV footage of the incident, and that nothing in the footage proves her claim that she was assaulted. There was just an argument and a scuffle which was seen on camera, an officer said.