Indian plane scare caused by burqa: airport


Express May 05, 2010

KOLKATA: An Indian-based Spicejet plane made an emergency landing in Kolkata on Wednesday after two Russian passengers, including a woman in a burqa, behaved “suspiciously” on board, an airport official said.

The Hindustan Times reported that a burqa-clad passenger “with a man-like physique, aroused the suspicion of crew members.” The pilot was given a priority landing after passengers reported the couple to air crew and the woman refused to take off her burqa for identification, Kolkata airport director R Srinivasan told AFP.

The low-cost SpiceJet flight with 123 passengers on board was heading from Pune in the south via the capital New Delhi and on to Kolkata. “The two Russian passengers, one wearing a burqa had boarded the flight from New Delhi,” Srinivasan said. “Some of the co-passengers found their movement suspicious and drew the attention of the crew members.”

The plane was taken to an isolation bay at the airport for a search and the two Russians have been detained by the authorities for questioning. The public has been especially sensitive to air security due to terror threats.

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