After a month-long business trip in Gurgaon, 55-year-old Mohammad Lateef Banday, alongside his aged wife and 24-year-old daughter, Mehrish, was coming back to Srinagar on 24 February. From Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), Terminal 2, Banday family had to board IndiGo flight 6E-2136 at 09:55 am to Srinagar. Soon after submitting the bags at boarding counter, they showcased Aadhar card, “which read: Shopian, Pulwama; and it changed everything. They said, ‘you can’t go.'”
Talking to The Kashmir Walla, Mr. Banday told that Aadhar card of himself and the daughter was approved, “but my wife’s card read Shahzada Bano, while her name is Shahzada Banday,” adding to it, he narrated how he explained authorities at the IGI Airport that Bano is used as the second name in Kashmir, “but they didn’t understand it.”
Following resistance to such actions, as per Mr. Banday, he was detained for above 2 hours, while his wife pleaded for his release. “They called security and asked them to take us out,” but explains how after a round of verification, security personnel cleared them, and said, “it is all legal, and nothing is illegal in it. But, by then, my flight was gone.”
Banday family was about to leave, “manager called us back after they got a call from someone and he said, ‘do you want a refund?'”
The IndiGo staff told the family that they can board next flight bounded to Srinagar around 12 pm, “but asked for 27 thousand. I told them to give me my previous 24 thousand refunds.”
Though Mr. Banday, alongside his 52-year-old wife, and daughter, Ms. Mehrish, left the airport and they reached the railway station. “We boarded Shalimar Express after 4 pm, and reached Jammu at 5 am on 25th morning,” while, right now, Banday family waits for Jammu-Srinagar highway clearance to reach home, they wonder, what if they were not from Pulwama.