SAVE VANDE BHARAT PILOTS

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Dear Friends and Patriots,

This petition is to highlight and reverse the gross injustice being meted out to certain employees of Air India who were fired on August 13, 2020 at 11.31 pm IST for no apparent reason.

I am the wife of Capt. Shantanu Sangidwar, who has served India since the last 10+ years as a pilot with Air India. I saw my husband, along with other pilots of Air India, rise to the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to repatriate stranded Indians from across the world even as the coronavirus pandemic raged. He flew to multiple capitals in the Middle East & South East and brought his fellow Indians safely back home as part of the "VANDE BHARAT MISSION."

I am a personal witness to the sacrifices he made to make this possible. He was made to fly for up to 15 hours in a day. He would sometimes wait for two days for his COVID-19 test result in quarantine facilities . And when he would come back home, he had to quarantine himself for 5 days before flying again. 

Even though I knew he was bearing a great risk of contracting the infection, even though I knew this mission was stressful, and even though Air India had slashed his salary by effectively 70 percent, I was proud that he and his colleagues were contributing to the country in this year of crisis. What he did for India is no less than the work of the frontline doctors who rushed to treat patients early in the pandemic even when they could have opted out. 

We didn’t expect to be rewarded for this. We didn’t ask why he was being paid a pittance even though his job required utmost skill and great courage. But we had no idea what was to follow next. 

After utilizing my husband’s services throughout the pandemic, Air India suddenly realized that it could cut more costs by firing him – and 56 others. In doing this, the management was also settling an old score. Sign my petition to help Vande Bharat pilots

Shantanu had resigned from Air India in January 2020, and was serving the notice period of 6 months as per Directorate General Civil Aviation requirements. But on 3rd March, 2020, he withdrew his resignation and planned to continue with Air India, which was as per the laws of the company. And Air India accepted it on the same day in writing. His last date of work was 15th July, 2020 as per the resignation, but since the company had accepted his withdrawal of resignation and he was provided with a confirmation letter for the same, he continued working.

Air India utilized his services in the months of March, April, May June, July, August 2020 for their "VANDE BHARAT MISSION" and evacuation flights from international destinations. Without thinking once about the safety and health of his family, my husband performed his duty with utmost professionalism and complete willingness.

In July, Air India passed a decision to deduct 70% of his salary, retrospectively from March onwards, for the work they had already made him do. Then on 13th August, 2020, two days before the 74th Independence Day, they sent an email at 11:31 pm that said “with immediate effect we have accepted your resignation and terminate your services.”

I am both heartbroken and angered by the fact that a Government organization, without any fear of the legal system has taken such an arrogant and patently unfair decision. A Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) first announced such heavy pay cuts affecting my family’s financial security and then callously terminated my husband’s and employment, along with that of 56 more colleagues.

I seek your support and blessings in my fight against the Air India management to restore my husband’s employment and honor his self-respect. 

I request you to sign this petition to prevent the gross injustice being meted out to a brave and selfless pilot who served his nation during an extraordinary crisis. I also want his case to serve as a reminder to Air India that a pilot is not  their disposable toy to be used, misused and abused. This is also necessary to ensure that the pilots of Air India are not stressed due to insecurity about their job. 

My husband has carried thousands of passengers to safety. Now it’s your turn to ensure his career is safe. Please sign the petition and share it in your circles.

I hope I gather enough signatures to prove to Air India that India will not tolerate injustice.

Yours Sincerely
Shivani Shashvat