Shiv Sena MP hits AI staffer: Political leaders react to incident, seek penal action

Leaders across party lines reacted sharply on Thursday to the incident where a Shiv Sena MP thrashed an Air India staffer.

PTI March 23, 2017 19:33:56 IST
Shiv Sena MP hits AI staffer: Political leaders react to incident, seek penal action

New Delhi: Leaders across party lines reacted sharply on Thursday to the incident where a Shiv Sena MP thrashed an Air India staffer and demanded strict penal action against the legislator, terming the incident as "sad and unfortunate". Although Shiv Sena supported its legislator, saying he is not the kind of person who loses his temper, the Congress threatened to rake up the issue in Parliament demanding strict action against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad.

Shiv Sena MP hits AI staffer Political leaders react to incident seek penal action

Kirit Somaiya. PTI

"This is unacceptable and some kind of action needs to be taken. It should be coming from his party as well as all the MPs when they speak in one voice in regards to privileges accorded to them. They should also be speaking in one voice to seek accountability when this privilege is misused. "It is not only Shiv Sena's responsibility, it is also the responsibility of the government which is in power. Aviation minister should take action because it is a government employee who has been attacked by this MP," Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said.

Gaikwad punched and hit a 60-year-old Air India Duty Manager with his slippers nearly 20 times and tore his shirt at IGI airport here on Thursday just because he could not travel business class in an all-economy flight. Chaturvedi said elected representatives should not be allowed to get away with such behaviour. "We will raise this issue in Parliament and not only this, lots of BJP MPs have been found guilty of misusing their power like this and using their position of authority to get away with this kind of behaviour. It needs to be condemned," she said.

BJP MP Kirit Somaiya maintained that Members of Parliament need to behave in a more mature manner. "We the MPs are more responsible persons and we have to behave in more mature manner. Anybody, particularly MPs like me has to take the responsibility and not beat anybody whether Air India crew or common man. If my colleague MP has done some error, I feel I can apologise on behalf of MPs who are sitting here in Delhi," he said.

Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande, however, said that there should be a probe into the entire incident. "Ravi Gaikwad is our MP and as far as we know him, he is
not the kind of person, who loses his temper so soon. He is a good MP. If you go to his constituency, you will find people talk good things about him. "He has worked for the people. But what happened here, what was the mistake of the airline official and what was the instigation which led to him taking such an extreme step, it should be probed," she said.

Congress leader Oscar Fernandes said that whether it is an MP or a citizen, nobody has the right to beat anybody. "We have great responsibility as Members of Parliament to support the staff who work in difficult conditions. I appeal to all people to treat our workers or public servants with all kindness and humility," he said. Air India is also examining whether to create a no-fly list for unruly passengers. No airline in India currently has such a list.

Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam demanded action against the Shiv Sena leader and termed as "absolutely wrong" the act of Gaikwad. "Shiv Sena is a party in the government in Delhi and Mumbai. Its leader must behave properly and like a responsible politician or worker. It is up to the government now that they take action against the person who has done such a criminal act against a government official," he said.

Stressing that nobody can take the law in his or her hand, Nirupam said action has to be taken against any person who goes against the legal framework of the country and resort to violence.

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