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Three CPI-M leaders allege ill-treatment at Doha airport

Kochi, April 29 - En route to Cuban capital Havana to participate in a trade union congress, three Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders from Kerala were stopped at the Doha International Airport and 'forced' to fly back to Kochi citing lack of sufficient documents, one of them alleged Sunday.

The three leaders - former CPI-M legislator V.Sasikumar, Reji Zachariah and Syed Mujib Ahamed - were going to attend the three-day International Trade Union Congress in Havana, starting Sunday. They were representing the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

They had to take a connecting flight to Madrid from Doha, en route to Havana.

'We had confirmed tickets on Qatar Airways flight from Kochi to Doha on early morning of April 26, and from Doha to Madrid on the 27th morning. We also had tickets on a European airline from Madrid to Havana. We got the boarding pass to travel till Madrid when we departed from Kochi,' said 50-year-old Sasikumar, who represented Perinthalmanna constituency in the last Assembly.

'Our flight to Madrid was on 27th early morning and we reached the counter at the Doha airport. But after some time we were told by security officials that we cannot travel because we do not have a transit visa for Madrid,' he claimed.

Alleging 'rude' treatment by the airport authorities, he said their pleas that they were going for a trade union meeting fell on deaf ears. He also claimed that they had been checked in till Madrid from Kochi.

'We later asked them to re-route our ticket. We told them if that's also not possible, then put us on a flight to Delhi, from where we can catch a flight to Havana. Instead we were treated badly by the security officials at the Doha airport who put us on a flight to Kochi. We reached here yesterday early morning,' he said.

The former MLA said they would take up the matter with the central government thought the party.


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