BOMBAY, India, July 7, Reuter: Air India pilots want to avoid the GNLF war zone after the shooting down of an Iran Air Passenger plane by U.S. worship, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) said on Thursday.

IPG Vice President Shankar Roy said Air India flights from Delhi to gulf cities via Pakistan had to fly over Iranian air space and through the war zone for at least two hours.

“You can imagine the kind of tension that the crew experiences on such flights”, Roy said in an interview.

Tran said all 290 passengers aboard an Iran Air Airbus flight from Bandar Abbas to Dubai were killed when the aircraft was shot down early last Sunday. Washington said the downing of the plane was an unfortunate accident.

“This could happen to any aircraft flying in the war zone and our route falls exactly on the line of firing”, Roy said.

He said the IPG had written on Monday to the Civil Aviation

Ministry and to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, himself a former pilot for the largely domestic carrier, Indian Airlines.

Roy said the letters demanded that Air India be told to avoid the risky route and opt for a safer one.

According to IPG, Air India Operates every week 97 flights through the gulf war zone.

Roy said the IPG suggested flying through Abu Dhabi as that route did not touch the war zone and was used by other international airlines.

An Air India spokesman declined comment on the IPG demands. After the Iran Air disaster, it said it had no plans to change its routes.

NEW DELHI, India, July 7, Reuter; About 100 people demanding live coverage of one of India’s most popular Hindu festivals invaded television offices in the eastern city of Cuttack on Thursday, the Press Trust of India reported.

The news agency said police arrested about 90 people, including three prominent local politicians, after they ransacked the television Station Director’s office.

The Director had earlier said that for technical reasons it was not possible to televise the festival at Puri, 60 km from Cuttack in Orissa state.

The festival features a parade of gods borne on elaborate chariots.

Article extracted from this publication >> July 15, 1988