Man Flies by Air India Plane Hiding in Toilet - Booked Under PP Act


Jaipur/New Delhi, Dec 28, PTI : The Indian stowaway who hid in a toilet on an Air India Haj charter flight carrying 273 passengers from Saudi Arabia was on Sunday booked under the Passport Act while the airline said the crew did not see him as a 'security threat'. 

In a major security breach, 25-year-old Habib Hussain sneaked into the Jaipur-bound plane at Medina and hid into the toilet. His presence came to light about half an hour after the flight took off from Medina when a passenger went to the toilet. The aircraft arrived in Jaipur on Friday night.

Preliminary interrogation of Hussain, who has been arrested, has not revealed any intention to cause any harm, a police source said in Jaipur. He hailed from  Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh and was working as a cleaner at Medina airport with a Saudi ground handling company.

“Jaipur Police, ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) and SOG (Special Operation Group) of Rajasthan Police are interrogating the man and officials of Military Intelligence will also interrogate him,” the source said, adding Hussain was booked under the Passport Act.

“Investigation so far reveals that his aim was just to escape from his employer in Medina and get back home. But at the same time, this is a very serious thing which could put passengers’ lives at stake,” an official said.

Hussain managed to board the Air India flight without ticket and passport on the pretext of cleaning it.

In New Delhi, Air India said in a statement that it was ascertained that Hussain “did not pose any threat to the safety and security of the aircraft and the passengers”.

The airline said it has sought an explanation from the Medina ground handling company as to how one of its employees boarded the aircraft.

During questioning by the cabin crew, it was found that it was a stowaway case and Habib did not intend to harm anybody after which the pilot decided to continue with the flight. Hussain had a valid identity card giving him access to the security cleared zone where the aircraft was parked in Medina.

The Air India spokesperson said it was also found that Hussain was an Indian national “who was desperate to reach home as he was dissatisfied with his employment conditions”.

“We would like to reiterate that the airline has not been informed by the police authorities of any action contemplated against the crew of the flight,” he said. Habib told that he had gone to Saudi Arabia six months ago. He, through a contractor, got a job of a sweeper at the Medina airport and his employer took away his passport to ensure that he does not escape from the country. 

  

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Comment on this article

  • Roshan Pais, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    This incident should open eyes of our people for one simple reason - Gulf countries, especially countries like KSA, are known for exploiting Indian workers. I don't know why Indians go to these hell on earth!

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  • Jaimini P.B., Manipal,Sharjah

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Habib Hussain...GREAT ESCAPE ! You took very dangerous step which is right from your point of view.But wrong from Law point of view. Some people commit suicide after getting mentally harrassed by employers.But you didn't do that stupid thing. I must appreciate that. Anyway,now you have to face punishment as per Indian law which is better than getting harassed by your employer.

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  • Shareef Moideen, Mangalore/Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Ruchi, dubai You might have been living in good condition and enjoy the life, but there are millions of foreigners (especially from South Asia) in Gulf Countries to support their families. We can take our coastal region there is several youngsters work for the happiness for their families. There are several youths in mid 20’s sacrifice everything and work like machine and the only happiness they have when they send money to their parents at end of the month. The immigration, customs and security personnel’s still believe in humanity, the AI crews might have noticed his condition and allowed him to travel. The Bangladeshi street cleaners in Saudi Arabia works for meager 250 SAR (66 USD) and live in worst condition, in a small room there are 8 to 10 people, I am sure they are worn out after working for 10-12 hours in extreme climate and cannot even rest properly in their rooms. These workers are living on the mercy of philanthropists. I am sure this Hussain might have paid huge amount to the agent in India either by selling Gold of his mother, sister or wife or borrowed from someone. His living condition might have tempted him to smuggle himself inside the toilet and didn’t bother about the consequences. Let us appreciate the kind gesture of AI cabin crews to help their compatriot and rescue him from his dire situation. Let us forget about the security breach and immigration in this isolated incident.

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  • prem, kankanady/dubai

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Thanks Lydia Lobo Kadri for your comments,i was supposed to comment on Ruchi's comment but you replied by a healthy comment.some people forget everything when they reach abroad.

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  • mohan h naik, Mangaluru

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Astonished to note the comments, without any consideration for a poor soul like Habib.Equally the security lapse is an important issue, can not be ignored.

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  • Ronald Fernandes, Bantwal/Dubai

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    I assume interrogation is not required for this poor guy only enquiry is enough but authorities already handed over this poor guy to police and military intelligence who already tortured him to get nothing but for thier naukri fit. Actually no need involvement of MI unless and until declaration he is terrorist because interrogation required only for terrorist which MI is to do. This is very sad news that a poor guy interrogated by MI and Police.

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  • TERESA, MANGALORE/MUSCAT

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    I fully agree with Sarah. It is indeed sad... and I too feel the crew did the best thing to bring him back, if he was sent back to Medina dont know what would happen to him as no one to question and take care of these poor people....

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  • Len Fernandes, Mangalore,Jeppu

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    This is an alarming thing.how could a person sneak into an aircraft so easily.What were the security personnel doing?Whats going on ?When will we realize our mistakes?Wake up Air India!!!!Are we waiting for another Kandhahar to happen?

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  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Ruchi seem to have born in Dubai, never had to struggle to get immigration cleared stamp on her PP to travel out for the first time. That is why Indins image in Arab's mind is more impoprtant to her. There are more serious issues like agents smuggling Indians to Gulf countries without clearing immigration check on their PP and even with fake visas. Please understand the man's situation - he too may have travelled having pushed out by an agent therefore may not be knowing how important is carrying a Passport along and submitting for scrutiny at the entry/exit of any country. He is an illiterate labour unlike any of us. The cabin crew is not wrong in taking him to India because he is an Indian. They did not intentionally smuggle in a foreigner. Of-course they committed an error of not checking all areas of the aircraft, as such, the cleaning staff could hid an explosive device in the toilet. Let the authorities come to a solution, let us not blow the issue out of proportion.

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  • Rizwan, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    In Saudi Arabia, many Indians are struggling to get their Salary on time specially labours, and they can't complaint or expect any help from Indian Embassy here, but Philipine Embassy is very co-operative with their Citizens than our Indian Embasssy.

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  • shane, mng/dxb

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Escape of Mr. Habib from Medina by hiding in toilet is the alarm to the security personal and the lesson to the Indian goverment, which earns millions of dollars in NRI remittances each month but never adress the actual problems faced by fellow Indian Labours/workers in this part of the world specially in Arab countries where many of the employers ill-treat the employees by offering very low salary, very bad living conditions, no passage to home country etc., beside these common issues there are several other issues which lead the common man to take a extreme step of his life.

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  • Lawrance Santhosh Sequeira, Madanthyar/Dubai

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Thanks to airline you helped him in getting his lovely life back...I accept that legally it is not right..But your right crews..you people are really great. Today i am proud to say that Indians are really great...They have a blood of Humanity...

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  • ruchi, dubai

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Come on guys, whatever the problem, this is not the way to escape, enough of crime has been imported to the gulf countries by outsiders with new tricks, and now this one what a shame for all Indians, YES we sympathize with all who are suffers, that is because our govt. is weak, but with this incidence what will be the fate of millions of others who will be harrassed by the airport officials in future looking upon on others with suspicion, whatever the case AIR INDIA has done a very cheap thing, to cooperate with him, they should have notified the airport officials, may be some of the cabin crew are involved, he could have been a terrorist, could have been a smuggler(Ofcourse now they say he is not) but if this fellow is let scot free many cases of this will happen, and we Indians who are already given a hostile treatment, will be further dealt with more harrarsement, then blaming the officials concerned is not the case, CRIME CRIME in the Gulf countries, first let sit back and thing was all this there 30 years ago, wasn't more freedom given, who destroyed it, who brought in crime, like fake visas etc, can't blame all the employers in the gulf, we taught them the tricks for some selfish greed, and all of us are paying the price, many have been fooled and taken to the gulf, but the main agent has always been a person that belongs to the victims country, govt. should show the world that we are dealing with this kind of crime with strictness, THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO SHOW SYMPATHY

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  • Ifthikhar, Managalore/KSA

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    I appreciate the gesture of AI team in handling this case. As mentioned by Sarah Izzeldin it is quite common in a Gulf country to face such frustration. Being myself in a Gulf country I think what I am getting here is the reward for my tolerance.

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  • Ivan PINTO, Belthangady / KSA

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Labour problem is very serious in gulf countries. Indian Embassy has to involve more and more problems of Indian National which Embassy is not doing atall.

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  • Eddie , udupi

    Mon, Dec 28 2009

    Mr. Habib is one in million cases who are working in gulf under inhuman working conditons. Some of the employers in the gulf squeez the "blood" and exploit them to such an extent one cannot imagine. Mr. habib must have gone through similar situation, and he has taken a very bold decision whether it is right or wrong, he never bothered. He could do that because he had the permission to enter the aircraft for cleaning. How many of my brothern have such facility? God bless Air India Crew.

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  • Sarah Izzeldin, Khartoum, Sudan

    Sun, Dec 27 2009

    Sad but true to the core. Habib Hussain is one among the thousands who in the hope of making a bright future had ventured into the Arab world. Habib Hussain with a do or die attitude took the risk of reaching his homeland by hook or by crook. There are so many who out of frustration, desparation and dejection who have committed suicide. Many have not made it back home to their loved ones in waiting for whatsoever reason. some news are highlighted some are not. The root cause of all such tragedies is "POVERTY". Until this disease is eradicated from our land things as such will continue to happen. Appreciate the kindness of the crew who did not report Habib back to the authorities at Medina, who instead knowing that he was not a threat landed the plane on Indian soil and handed him over to the authorities. God Bless the team...

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  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Sun, Dec 27 2009

    Labours' problem is very complex one to solve. One is on his toes until he lands in a foreign country and also in equal hurry to leave the place upon finding the harsh working/living conditions. well, not so easy - the employer has spent enough resources to get the man there, obviously he will expect his returns. This man is lucky to have reached India. Imagine if he had landed in any other Arab country if the plane was via ? He may have been put in jail for illegal entry !

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