Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad
Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju called Thursday’s incident of a Shiv Sena Member of Parliament assaulting an Air India staffer with a pair of slippers ‘unfortunate’. “It should not have happened – we are very clear on that,” Raju added.
Reports about the incident emerged Thursday evening, with Gaikwad admitting, even boasting, about having beaten up the 61-year-old Surendra Kundu, an Air India customer services officer.
The assault followed an argument Gaikwad getting into an argument with airline staff over not being given a business class seat despite holding a ticket for the same.
Addressing the incident, Raju said, “But what has happened has happened. Whatever action has to be taken will be taken.” The minister added, I am also an MP, we are not above the land and we have to follow the law of land.”
Meanwhile, criticism on the issue is growing. CPI’s Mohammed Salim took a swipe saying, “Authoritarians never apologise,” possibly referring to Gaikwad’s refusal to apologise. “I do not regret (beating up the employee) and I will not apologise,” Gaikwad has said.
The TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi called it a black day, adding that such incidents give a bad name to all MPs. “The Law of land must take its own course and perhaps I think law of land must be harsher for MPs because general public look up to them,” Trivedi said.
Such incidents cannot be justified “unless you have totally lost (your) brains or (have) suddenly gone crazy,” he added.
The airline community, meanwhile, has lent its support to the idea of a no-fly list. Private carriers IndioGo and SpiceJet both supported the proposal.
“SpiceJet supports a no-fly list to bar unruly flyers who are a safety hazard for not just the crew but even the traveling public. The government needs to act on this soon,” SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said.