A Day after he abused his power as Member of the Parliament and physically assaulted a 60-year-old official of Air India, Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad remained defiant, challenging the police to arrest him. “I dare the Delhi police to arrest me. I will not apologise,” the MP said on Friday, suggesting his party would support him in the fight.
In swift retaliation to the episode, major airline operators banned the politician and refused to give him a ticket to travel. Air India cancelled his return ticket to Pune on Friday morning.
While Gaikwad’s travel agent initially managed to book a ticket on an IndiGo flight, the airlines cancelled it when it came to know the passenger details. Eventually, the MP was forced to take a train to Mumbai from Delhi.
“We believe exemplary action should be taken in such incidents to protect employee morale and public safety,” the Federation of Indian Airlines said after imposing a ban on the MP. Most of the famous carriers, IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Go Air to name a few, are members of the FIA.
The Delhi Police, meanwhile, registered FIRs against Gaikwad. “A case has been registered under section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour person) of the IPC. We are transferring the case to Crime Branch for thorough probe,” Delhi Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Friday said that suo motu action cannot be initiated against Gaikwad but stressed that no MP is allowed to misbehave with anyone. “No one is allowed to misbehave with anyone, even if he is an MP, a common man or any official,” she said. Earlier in the day, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad condemned Gaikwad’s behaviour, saying people expect dignified conduct from Members of Parliament.
“As members of august bodies like Parliament, the country expects dignified behaviour from all of us,” he tweeted, adding he was ‘deeply distressed’ over the incident.
Members of the Shiv Sena had contradictory views. While Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai said the party has sought an explanation, its spokesperson Sanjay Raut put the blame on Air India. “AI needs to introspect what would happen if the public decides to blacklist them.” Justifying the incident as normal behaviour, Bachchu Kadu, an Independent MLA from Maharashtra, bragged that he had slapped at least twenty officers. “Some officers behave badly with elected representatives, what do you expect us to do?”