The issue of flying ban on Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, after he assaulted an Air India staffer with slippers, resonated in Parliament and outside on Monday. Sena MPs demanded revocation of the ban, but failed to get any positive response from the government. However, the government did hint it may tweak norms to deal with unruly flyers. Here are the top 10 developments of the day.
LS SPEAKER FOR AN AMICABLE RESOLUTION
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday pitched for an amicable resolution of the issue involving domestic airlines’ blanket ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad.
“MPs need to attend Parliament and they cannot travel by train always. At times, they need to travel by plane also. I feel that this issue (blanket ban) should be resolved amicably through talks,” she said.
Mahajan, however, said that she was not the one to pass a judgement but was trying to help resolve the issue as the agitating MPs have sought help from her as she was the Speaker.
NORMS FOR UNRULY FLYERS.
The government is planing to tweak the norms to deal with unruly fliers as it looks to provide more clarity on regulatory powers amid debate on airlines barring an MP from flying for assaulting an Air India staff.
While aviation regulator DGCA has guidelines in place to deal with unruly passengers, there is no specific mention about the possibility of barring any individual from flying for disruptive behaviour.
A senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said the current Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on ‘Handling of unruly/ disruptive passengers’ has “some gaps” which needs to be plugged.
DELHI POLICE RECORDS STATEMENTS.
The Delhi Police Crime Branch on Monday recorded statements of 15 people including the Air India staffer who was assaulted by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad.
The Police has also sought details of the video and the CCTV footage of the assault case.
DCP (Crime Branch) Ram Gopal Naik recorded the statements at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.
Earlier, in a stunning revelation, an Air India air hostess had said that Gaikwad almost threw the airlines staff member Sukumar down the ladder even though he didn’t want to.
CAN AIRLINES BAN AN MP?.
Can airlines ban any Member of Parliament from travelling for discharge of his official duty? This question was raised by Naresh Agrawal of Samajwadi Party on Monday in the Rajya Sabha while referring to Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad been banned from flying by domestic airlines following his alleged assault on an Air India staffer.
“Airlines banning Ravindra Gaikwad just goes to show their dadagiri,” Agarwal said.
He wasn’t allowed to raise the issue by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on the ground that it pertained to a member of the other House.
SENA WANTS FLYING BAN LIFTED.
Shiv Sena lawmakers on Monday said the ban imposed by all airlines on fellow member Ravindra Gaikwad should be lifted but the government said airlines had the right to refuse a passenger.
“There was some dispute, he had beaten an Air India staffer. I agree it is wrong. Air India has filed a police complaint and we will accept whatever the result is, that is not a problem,” he said, adding, “The problem is all airlines have restricted him. The constitution says people can go anywhere in the country. If there is one incident and all airlines ban him, it is wrong.”
WHY NO ACTION AGAINST KAPIL?
The Shiv Sena’s Leader Anandrao Adsul, who raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, said he was only seeking lifting of the ban on flying imposed on Gaikwad by all major airlines. Adsul referred to a recent incident of alleged misbehaviour by comedian Kapil Sharma during a flight to Australia and wondered why no action was taken against him.
NO RESPONSE FROM GOVERNMENT.
The Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju, instead of giving any positive response to the Shiv Sena demands, admonished Gaikwad for indulging in violence on the flight on March 23.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought that an MP will get caught in such an incident,” he said, while emphasising that “violence of any kind can be disastrous.”
PROTEST, SHUT DOWN IN OSMANABAD.
Even as the Shiv Sena stood by its legislator Ravindra Gaikwad, his supporters on Monday shut down Osmanabad district demanding action against Air India and other airlines for banning him from flying.
Hundreds of activists created road blocks, took out protest marches and raised slogans against Air India and shut down all shops and establishments in towns like Osmanabad, Omerga and Lohara as well as nearby villages.
Sena activists demanded to know how the MP could be banned from flying and sought action against Air India for its alleged poor services to customers.
CONGRESS DEFENDS GAIKWAD.
Extending support to Shiv Sena lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad, the Congress on Monday said that Air India staffer Sukumar was equally at fault. Congress leader Rajni Patil said that she has given a notice in Parliament over the VVIP culture issue.
“Not all MPs are the same as shown. As the MP behaved, so did the airlines. If he misbehaved, the airlines also put him in the ‘no-fly’ list. The people should behave like a normal citizen,” she said.
Resonating similar views, another Congress leader Husain Dalwai said that it was not just one-sided.
“He is a famous leader in Osmanabad. We should keep in mind how the officer talked to Gaikwad. I am not going to support his act. What he did was wrong, but this is not just one-sided,” he said.
GAIKWAD REFUSES TO REVEAL HIS WHEREABOUTS.
The Shiv Sena MP has been asked by the party to stay quiet. “I can’t tell you where I am right now. I am with my family members and I will celebrate Gudi Padwa with them before returning to Parliament on Wednesday morning,” he said over phone, adding “I have been asked to stay quiet.”
Last week, Gaikwad reportedly reached Vapi town in south Gujarat by train and has remained incommunicado with the media in Maharashtra.