Uttar Pradesh ministers force pilot to land chopper at crowded ground

Days after they were made ministers in the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet, Iqbal Mahmood and Shahid Manzoor have courted a controversy by allegedly forcing the pilot of a helicopter in which they flew to land at a college ground endangering their own lives as well as hundreds of supporters who gathered to meet them.

Sources said the chopper carrying the newly promoted ministers was “forced” to land at a temporary helipad at a college in Sambhal district, about 400 km from here, which was surrounded by a large number of supporters, who had assembled there to welcome the duo.

The ministers reportedly pressurised the pilot to land there though he expressed his inability to do it citing the absence of safety barricades to stop the swelling crowd from rushing towards the chopper. Sources said that the pilot bowed to their pressure and somehow managed to land the chopper safely.

Reports said the pilot has lodged a complaint with the civil aviation authorities and a report had been sought from the district officials in this regard.

According to the reports, the enthusiastic supporters of the two ministers did not wait for the rotors of the chopper to stop completely and ran towards it.

The ministers were then taken away in a cavalcade. Senior district officials were present at the spot when the incident occurred.

Though local leaders kept on announcing on the loudspeakers asking the people not to go towards the helipad, it had no effect.

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