Is MP Gaikwad above the law?

Shiv Sena, the evergreen party in Maharashtra has been quite vocal regarding social and religious issues going on in the country. With time, it has expressed its disagreement regarding several issues including that of Valentine’s Day. Although it supports the pro-Marathi ideology and Hindu nationalism, it has been referred to as an extremist and a fascist party.

MP Ravindra Gaikwad of Shiv Sena, maybe, doesn’t pay heed to Hindu culture and values; that’s why was banned by Air India to travel by any of its flights after indulging in an unruly and rude behavior of assaulting the cabin crew member with his slippers on 23rd March. His tickets were also canceled for Delhi-Mumbai on April 17 and Mumbai-Delhi on April 24. This incident happened after Gaikwad expressed regret over the brawl, although the airline was stiff with its decision. AI Chairman and MD Ashwani Lohani met Minister of State Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha regarding the issue wherein they cleared that they won’t lift the ban until Gaikwad apologizes to the airline staff. The ban was imposed on him till 6th April 2017 but was lifted on 7th April 2017.

Although the ban has been lifted under pressure after Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju wrote to Air India to lift the ban on the controversial parliamentarian, a section of the national carrier’s pilots have refused to fly him unless and until he apologizes in a written letter. Gaikwad has just expressed regret over the issue without any unconditional apology as demanded by the AI staff.

It is not clear whether the ban imposed by five other airlines will be lifted but one thing is clear that Air India remains committed to ensure that its employees are not misbehaved or assaulted by anyone; if any such incident happens, they’ll always take a stand to protect the dignity of their employees. Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) has refused to budge from the decision of not flying the MP. They want to have a closer look at the matter as to know that whether he has apologized to the victim or just the ministry.

The ban lifting came after the consequence of paralysis of Parliament on 6th April 2017 when it threatened to disallow the arrival and departure of any AI flight in Mumbai. A letter has been issued to AI Chairman and MD mentioning that Gaikwad as a threat to cabin crew members and he should not be allowed to fly as his behavior and attitude are disrespectful.

This incident is a shame at our MPs and MLAs who think that being a part of a political party allows them to do what they wish to without thinking about the dignity of others. It also depicts the strength and unity of Indian Aviation unit that how they have stood together at such a time. Gaikwad should apologize in the form of a written letter, not only to the victim from the cabin crew but also to the ministry. Not only Gaikwad is at fault, but also the government which took a long time to take stricter actions against the MP. The airlines did what it felt was right and in favor of its crew. The issue is critical because it’s someone’s respect and dignity at stake. No one would be able to tolerate such a behavior. For this, the VIP culture needs to end so that everyone gets justice in such cases. It’s not only our duty to protect our dignity, but also of the others to show respect to a fellow human being. The ban has been lifted, but the government should take strict action against him so that no other person even thinks to do so.

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