An association of airlines has decided that Ravindra Gaikwad, the parliamentarian of the western state of Maharashtra's regional Hindu fundamentalist Shiv Sena party who assaulted a staff member of Air India, will not be allowed on flights "with immediate effect", a statement said.
Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju Monday backed the decision by airlines not to allow Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad on board their aircraft, saying "an MP is also a passenger" and can not expect "unequal treatment".
In his complaint, Gaikwad, who allegedly manhandled Air India staffer, said he was made to travel by Air India on economy class even as he had business class ticket.
In the House, Raju pointed out that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had come out with safety guidelines including on the demeanour of the passenger after an earlier incident of violence against an airline staffer in November 2014.
Violence of any kind is a disaster in civil aviation.
"I never in my wildest dreams thought that an MP will get caught in such an incident", Raju said in Lok Sabha. While officially the meeting is being termed as a routine one to discuss issues like domestic airlines shifting to Terminal 1 in Delhi and how the Centre's regional connectivity scheme is being rolled out, it is unlikely that the incident involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad will not be taken up. Amid shut shops and deserted markets, Sena activists took out a bike rally.
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The Sena MP from Osmanabad was banned from flying most major airlines on Friday forcing him to take a train from Delhi to Mumbai. They also demanded that Air India and other airlines should lift the ban on Gaikwad.
Raut also added that there are number of people who should be blacklisted, who is responsible for bringing Air India to this position and due to which it is facing loss. He has since maintained a low profile and is said to have moved to a secret location.
Gaikwad was travelling from Pune to New Delhi when the scuffle broke out over the sitting arrangement. His mode of transport this time remains unclear.
"Special Commissioner of Police Dependra Pathak said that an FIR had been registered a FIR and the case has been transferred to the Crime Branch for a through probe".
"Airlines are within their rights to stop someone from boarding a flight if there is a chance that he will be unruly". Shiv Sena even gave shutdown call in Osmanabad in support of Gaikwad. Six airlines, including Air India (on whose flight the unsavoury incident had occurred), had put the Shiv Sena MP on a "no-fly" list.
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