US Airways settles with offloaded Sikh musicians

December 16th, 2009 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 16 (IANS) The US Airways has offered an apology and an undisclosed amount in compensation in a settlement with three Sikh musicians who were removed from a flight at the Sacramento airport in California last year.
Sikh organisations in the US had termed the incident involving classical religious performers Davinder Singh, Gulbag Singh and Iqbal Singh as a case of racial profiling and discrimination.

According to the United Sikhs, a community advocacy group, the incident took place Nov 15, 2008 when the three were ordered to leave the plane they had boarded for a flight to Salt Lake City.

“However, airline employees did not provide any explanation as to why they were being removed, but they were told, through a Panjabi interpreter, that the pilot would not fly with them on board,” the group said in a media release.

“After suffering humiliation in front of other passengers, the musicians were each handed a $5 meal voucher and forced to delay their travel until the next day. They experienced no problems boarding the Delta flight on which they were rebooked,” it said.

“To date, the airline has failed to provide any legitimate security concerns justifying the removal. The removal was apparently sparked by passengers’ and crew-members’ fears of the musicians based on their ethnic and religious appearance,” the United Sikhs said.

“In fact, a letter from US Airways indicates that the flight’s pilot had not made the decision to remove the musicians, but acquiesced after they had already been escorted off the plane, and without basing the decision on any actual security concerns,” the group said.

Prior to the settlement, the airline at its urging updated its training materials and distributed a bulletin reminding its employees of the company’s anti-discrimination policy, the group said.

US Airways had recently reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit in which six Muslim religious leaders alleged that they had been removed from a flight based on their religious and ethnic backgrounds.

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