Bride and groom pose as they perform a wedding ritual during a flight in this still image taken from a video dated May 23. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Indian civil aviation regulators have begun an investigation after a video went viral on social media that appeared to show a couple getting married midflight surrounded by family and friends.
The post-wedding joy ride by a marriage party onboard a SpiceJet aircraft, which took off from the Madurai International Airport on Sunday, has put the private airline in a spot with videos of the celebrations going viral on social media.
In the video on social media, guests and photographers could be seen crowded around the bride and groom on an aircraft, and most were not wearing masks.
India is in the midst of a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections.
Bride Dakshina and groom Rakesh perform a wedding ritual on a flight. Reuters
The videos and images that have gone viral on social media clearly show violation of COVID-19 safety norms, with a large number of people standing extremely close to each other. Incidentally, even the aircraft seats sported the pictures of the newly married couple.
In Tamil Nadu state, where the inflight wedding took place, temples and meeting halls are shut and weddings and other social events have a maximum attendance limit of 50 people.
A SpiceJet aircraft takes off past another parked on the tarmac at Chandra Bose Airport in Kolkata. Reuters
An official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said SpiceJet had been asked to file a complaint against those who violated the safety guidelines while the crew has been rostered off.
"We will conduct a detailed enquiry and based on the outcome shall take further action," the official said.
A spokesman for SpiceJet said the aircraft was chartered by a travel agent in Madurai on May 23 for a flight after a wedding. He said the airline was taking action against those who violated the COVID safety rules.
The agent and guests were briefed in detail on social distancing and safety norms as per COVID guidelines and civil aviation authority rules, he said.
"Despite repeated requests and reminders the passengers did not follow COVID guidelines and the airline is taking appropriate action as per rules," the spokesman said.
In Indian-controlled Kashmir, the coronavirus pandemic within months has changed an elaborate and lavish marriage tradition that had remained virtually unaltered for centuries.
The couple decided to go ahead with the ceremony on Sunday in the courtyard of the COVID-19 quarantine centre in Baran in the western state of Rajasthan — their protective gear giving it an otherworldly feel.
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