After allegedly assaulting an Air India (AI) staffer over seating issues, AI and Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) – which has Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir as its members – banned Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying, while IndiGo on Friday cancelled his ticket for the Delhi-Pune flight which he had booked for the day.
The budget carrier IndiGo said it will support any move which bars unruly passengers from flying, a day after Air India said it was mulling preparing a no-fly list for such people in the wake of the Shiv Sena MP assaulting its employee.
Watch the space below for the latest updates in the story
Shiv Sena MP Takes Train to Mumbai
After being barred by airlines, Gaikwad took a train to Mumbai.
Shiv Sena Defends Gaikwad
Coming out in defence of its MP Ravindra Gaikwad, the Shiv Sena on Friday said that it will not act against one of its own. Speaking to the media, senior party leader Sanjay Raut said:
There has been a mistake but we will see who is responsible for it, and who an FIR should be filed against... Be it a common man or a minister, anyone can get angry if he is wronged.
Delhi Police Registers FIR Against Ravindra Gaikwad
Delhi Police filed an FIR against Gaikwad on Friday. It also forwarded the case to the crime branch of the Delhi Police for further probe.
Speaking to the media, Special CP of the Delhi Police Dipendra Pathak said that the agency after consulting legal experts has filed the FIR under sections 308 and 355 of the IPC, charging him with assault and attempt to culpable homicide.
Ravindra Gaikwad Submits Complaint
Gaikwad has submitted a complaint against Air India. He approached the Delhi Police on Friday alleging that he was pushed and yelled at.
In his complaint, the MP also alleged that he was made to travel in economy class by Air India even though he had a business class ticket.
Members of Aam Aadmi Sena Protest With Roses and Chappals
Carrying roses and chappals, members of the Aam Aadmi Sena on Friday reached the Delhi airport to protest against Gaikwad.
There is heavy police presence outside the airport as Gaikwad is expected to reach there to board his flight, according to Hindustan Times.
Assaulted Employee Says “God Save our Country”
Shiv Kumar, the Air India employee who was assaulted by Gaikwad, on Thursday reportedly said in his written complaint that he was beaten, abused and almost thrown down the plane's stepladder, NDTV reported. “God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs,” he said.
Gaikwad Banned From Flying by 4 Airlines
In a joint statement released on Friday, Air India and the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) declared their decision to ban Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying.
Air India, Federation of Indian AirlinesWe have decided to ban the MP from all our flights with immediate effect.
Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad hit an Air India staff member with his slipper over seating issues on Thursday morning. The victim, R Sukumar, is a 60-year-old duty manager, who is now filing a police complaint of assault against the MP.
The FIA, which has Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir as its members, has taken a "strong view of the incident and accordingly has taken a decision to bar Gaikwad from flying," an FIA source had said.
Gaikwad Allegedly Hit the Staff Member 25 Times
According to reports, the incident was reported on the Air India flight AI 852 (Pune-Delhi), in which MP Ravindra Gaikwad was travelling.
In an interview, Gaikwad claimed that he had asked the Air India staff member to take his request to switch his seat, to his superior. Upon refusing to do so, Gaikwad claims to have hit him 25 times.
Questioned over the allegations, the Shiv Sena MP showed no remorse for his misconduct. Instead, he boasted that he hit the Air India staffer not with a slipper, but with a sandal, after his request for a Business Class seat was turned down. Speaking to CNN-News18, he added:
I bought a Business Class ticket but was seated in Economy... I raised the issue but was informed the plane does not have a Business Class seat... I told him I’m an MP, but when he still misbehaved, I hit him with my sandal.
He also demanded an apology from Air India.
Here is a video of what transpired inside the flight.
Union Aviation Minister Condemns Gaikwad’s Behaviour
Union Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju also weighed in on the issue condemning the MP’s behaviour.
No political party will encourage physical assault. It should never have happened: Ashok Gajapathi Raju,Civil Aviation Minister on R.Gaikwad pic.twitter.com/I78K7yUjB1— ANI (@ANI_news) March 23, 2017
The staff member who was attacked by the MP also spoke out, saying that he never expected that kind of a behaviour from an MP.