A popular Kerala radio jockey has alleged that he has been subjected to a barrage of abuse on social media, after he posted about Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President K Sudhakaran and his staff allegedly creating a stir onboard an IndiGo flight from Kochi to Kannur. Sooraj, posted on Facebook on October 24 about how a person who accompanied K Sudhakaran in his flight created a scene after the flight crew declined to give Sudhakaran a seat of his choice. Sudhakaran is also Member of Parliament representing Kannur constituency in northern Kerala.
Sooraj said that after he posted about the incident, he was bullied by Sudhakarâ€™s followers online. He also refuted some media reports which claimed that he apologised to Sudhakaran, and that the flight staff who declined the MPâ€™s demand had been sacked.
"Sudhakaran boarded the flight as the last passenger, accompanied by two friends, one wearing black shirt and one wearing white. Two seats were lying vacant, 19 FD and 18 FD. He was boarding from the back side and demanded to occupy the seat which was lying vacant. The air hostess, who is not a Malayali and who doesn't know Sudhakaran is an MP, then said that passengers weren't allowed to change seats as per their choice as that was a small flight and needed [weight] balancing. Then Sudhakaran reacted by asking if those rules were always followed and that he was a regular passenger. The air hostess replied that a regular passenger should know the rules clearly," Sooraj's post on October 24 reads.
Sudhakaran reportedly then occupied another seat 18 D which was lying vacant. "My seat was in the last row and all these were happening in the last row. Another passenger then told the air hostess and a ground staff member who entered the flight to see what was happening and that Sudhakaran was an MP. Then the staff replied that the rules were the same for the MP. Soon a person who accompanied the MP began shouting at the ground staff asking to tell his name and it seemed like the air hostess got tensed. I then told the MP in a cordial way that if a scene was created in the flight that would be a shame same on him and that all passengers were alike and that the squabble was happening in the name of him," the post further read.
According to Sooraj, the MP then told his aide to not raise the issue further. One of the other men then reportedly threatened the air hostess that if she would not reveal the names of the ground staff, they would not allow the flight to land in Kannur. They also purportedly told her to apologise to Sudhakaran. â€śWhat was even more surprising was that none of the other passengers paid any attention to this," Sooraj wrote. He added that Sudhakaran told his staff to stay calm and said that the ground staff were merely doing their job. He then directed the staff to avoid any further â€śunnecessary conversation,â€ť according to Sooraj.
In another post on October 25, Sooraj claimed that he came to know that the flight staff were sacked, this is however not confirmed. Sudhakaranâ€™s followers then went on to bully Sooraj in all the posts related to the incident with derogatory comments. Some claimed that Soorajâ€™s post was born out of his political inclinations to Leftist parties. Sooraj, however, told TNM that he used to be a member of the Students of Federation of India, and that he has no affiliation to any political party presently.
Sooraj hails from Kannur and works as a freelancer for firms based mainly out of Doha. He is also a part-time RJ at a Malayalam radio station named Radio Malayalam 98.6. The radio station also issued a statement regarding the incident. "RJ Sooraj is not a staff of Radio Malayalam but a freelance contributor only. Further action will be taken as per the policy of the organisation," it said.