Air India on Thursday afternoon said Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad had in the morning beaten up one of its employees with a slipper following an altercation over not being bumped up from economy class seats.
Surprisingly, when Gaikwad was approached about this incident, he not only confessed to beating the AI employee 25 times, but also said: "I am a Shiv Sena MP, and not a BJP Parliamentarian to stand and be abused." An FIR has since been lodged against him over the assault.
The matter is expected to snowball into a major controversy in both Maharashtra and the Centre, and put even more stress on the already-strained ties between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. There may also be complaints and counter-complaints in this regard.
Gaikwad said he approached the flight staff when the flight landed between 9.30 am and 9.45 am, and lodged a complaint over not being bumped up from his economy class seats. However, when his complaint was not resolved, he reportedly got abusive and hit the AI employee who was interacting with him.
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"When I told him what he's asking was not possible, he became abusive and used foul language," said the employee later. He added that Gaikwad "hit me, used bad words and not only broke my specs but humiliated me in front of the whole crew." He also said: "God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs."
Yes he misbehaved with me,broke my glasses. I never expected this: Sukumar,Air India staff member beaten up by Shiv Sena MP R Gaikwad pic.twitter.com/FbJmFDtPNK— ANI (@ANI_news) March 23, 2017
In a video that has since emerged, Gaikwad has not only admitted to hitting the AI staffer 25 times, and that too with his slipper, but also said he tried to get the matter solved amicably before getting violent. What ticked him off seems to be the AI employee's threat that he would complain to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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Gaikwad is seen saying in the video that he then beat up the AI official. Asked how he, being a Parliamentarian, could get physical with someone, he said: "I am a Shiv Sena MP, and not a BJP Parliamentarian to stand and be abused."
Watch the video here:
WATCH: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad admits that he beat an Air India staff member with slippers,remains defiant pic.twitter.com/1ws5nYptkn— ANI (@ANI_news) March 23, 2017
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju condemned the incident and told reporters: "No political party will encourage physical assault. It should never have happened."