Captain Unish Malik better know as Miki Malik, a senior pilot who served the IAF for 25 years was sacked by the low-cost carrier GoAir over a tweet.
According to GoAir, Captain Malik reportedly posted a tweet on Thursday where he made objectionable comments against "Prime Minister Narendra Modi".
Captain Miki Malik's controversial tweet
Captain Malik's tweet which stirred a furore on social media read, "PM is an idiot. You can call me the same in return. It's ok. I don't matter. Bcoz I am not PM. But PM is an idiot. Period." After the outrage caused by the remark against the "Prime Minister", Malik later apologised and deleted the tweet, besides locking his account.
However, GoAir sacked him, saying the airline has a zero-tolerance policy on such matters and it is mandatory for its employees to comply with the company's employment rules, regulations and policies, including social media behaviour.
The chorus for the calls to boycott the airline have surfaced post the outrage caused by the tweet, it is the airline that is being mocked for failing to explain why it had chosen to sack its senior pilot.
How did GoAir arrive at the conclusion that Captain Malik was referring to a particular "PM"? Did the captain mention the name or the country of the PM? More importantly, was there any objection from the Prime Minister's office related to the tweet?
GoAir stated "zero-tolerance policy" even against social media behaviour
Captain Miki Malik, who had joined civil aviation after spending 25 years in the IAF and retired as a group captain, was terminated with immediate effect for tweeting, "GoAir has terminated the services of the Captain with immediate effect," the airline's spokesperson said on Saturday.
A spokesperson for the airline had when asked about Captain Malik's tweet, said, "GoAir has terminated the services of the captain with immediate effect. The airline does not associate itself with personal views expressed by any individual or an employee," the spokesperson had said.
The airlines have been called a coward for taking this drastic step against a veteran captain who served during the Kargil War and is judged highly by his superiors.
Captain Malik tweeted also apologised for his tweet and said, "I apologise for my tweets about PM, other offensive tweets which may have hurt sentiments of anyone associated. I convey that GoAir is not associated with any of my tweets directly or indirectly as they were personal views," he tweeted.
"Boycott GoAir": Military veterans outrage against airline's decision
Amid the furore, military veterans expressed outrage at the airline's action against Captain Miki Malik. Veteran R Bhaduri said in a tweet: "#Idiot is top trending on Twitter India. Well done #mickeymalik. More power to you. @goairlinesindia shame on you!"
A Twitter handle called "just a common man" wrote: "Now the Pilot wrote PM is an Idiot, not Indian PM. How did Go Air management know which PM?? India wants to know."
"Hello #BoycottGoAir pilots, tighten your lips n learn bhakti lest you are next to fall. Look for better opportunities. This pathetic airline is not worth it," Colonel (retired) Dinesh Kumar tweeted.
In another tweet, "This #BoycottGoAir is a pathetic airline. When it cannot honour a battle-hardened pilot, it cannot provide good services to fliers. 100 per cent boycott." Brigadier A.K. Jairath (retd) tweeted: "I hereby pledge that I will never travel by GOAIR @goairlinesindia. What about you?"
Gulvinder Singh tweeted: "GoAir is coward, and next time I book a flight ticket, I will make sure to tell my agent to not book GoAir. Sacking your employee under political pressure is so shameful. @goairlinesindia.
Lesser known facts about Captain Miki Malik
The Twitter bio of Captain Malik, says: "IAF veteran, now in civil aviation. Common sense, plain speak, no overt piety or patriotism."
- The pilot, Unish Malik, is better known as Miki Malik, retired from the IAF in 2010 at the rank of Group Captain.
- The IAF veteran served for 25 years, including a stint with the VVIP Squadron.
- After 2004 tsunami, he had flown then-PM Manmohan Singh to Great Nicobar.
- Malik was in the transport stream and was an AN-32 pilot before moving on to the Avros.
- He became a Squadron Leader in 1996 and a Group Captain in 2008.
- Malik had flown multiple missions in the northern and eastern sectors to drop off essential supplies to the troops posted in those regions.