Co-passenger tried to ‘strangle’ him on Pune-bound flight: Kanhaiya

Mumbai: JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Sunday alleged that a co-passenger tried to “strangle” him inside an aircraft before a flight from Mumbai to Pune, a charge dismissed as “cheap publicity” by the man who was detained in connection with the incident.

“Yet again, this time inside the aircraft, a man tries to strangulate me,” Kanhaiya tweeted after the alleged incident which took place when he was inside a Jet Airways aircraft at the airport here.

Kanhaiya was subsequently offloaded from the plane by the airline staff on safety ground, forcing him to take road route to Pune to attend an event there.

The Maharashtra government has ordered a probe into the matter.

Following the incident, the man, identified as Manas Jyoti Deka (33), an employee of TCS in Pune, was detained and a non-cognisable offence filed at Mumbai airport, police said.

Prima facie it appears an argument broke out between two groups over seating onboard the flight and Kanhaiya was part of one of them, a senior police official said.

Sahar police is in the process of registering the complaints of both the parties, he added.

Deka dismissed the charge of attack and dubbed it as a “cheap publicity” stunt by the 29-year-old student leader.

“My hand just happened to brush his neck as I was trying to balance myself on an aching leg. I do not know him personally though I have seen his pictures. This is being done for cheap publicity,” Manas told reporters in Mumbai.

He said he was returning to Pune from Kolkata to report for work.

Following the incident, Maharashtra Minister of State (Home) Ram Shinde said Kanhaiya was trying to malign the image of the BJP-led state government.

Nevertheless, the state government has ordered a detailed inquiry into the episode, he said.

“He had been provided full security by the state government till the time he boarded the aircraft. Nobody can be given security once inside the plane. I, too, do not get security while I am flying,” Shinde told PTI.

“Kanhaiya Kumar was travelling with three other persons. He had been allotted a window seat and thus, while crossing over a passenger who was seated in the middle, he got into a fight with him. The other passenger did not even know this man was Kanhaiya Kumar and he, too, is alleging he was beaten up by the student leader,” Shinde said.

Shinde said that he has asked Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deven Bharti to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident and bring out the facts.

Yesterday, Kanhaiya was in Mumbai where he lashed out at the Modi government during a conclave organised by Left student outfits.

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