After Shiv Sena MP hits staffer, Air India mulls no-fly list for unruly passengers
Mar 24, 2017 | 09:47 IST | SOURCE : Times Now, Agencies

After Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulted Air India duty manager on Thursday, Air India is expected to take a slew of strict measures to ensure such incidents do not happen in future.

While no formal action has been taken by the Shiv Sena party against him, it is likely that Gaikwad will never be able to board an Air India flight in his lifetime.

Air India chief Ashwini Lohani came out in support of the Air India staff and asked the crew members to file a police complaint without approval, as it was a case of direct assault on the aircraft employee.

The national carrier has filed two FIRs in the case, said Lohani, pointing out the need to condemn such incidents even in cases where political leaders are involved. One of the complaints had be filed for delaying the flight for 40 minutes and the other for the assault on the duty manager.

As per sources, the Delhi Police is now mulling legal options and trying to pinpoint on the charges that can be imposed in the case.

He said, “While we have filed two FIRs it is necessary that in all such cases of a passenger misbehaving, the airport manager would invariably lodge an FIR with the local police without waiting for any approvals.”

An airline spokesperson has made it clear that the National carrier is mulling the introduction of a no-fly list, which will include names of unruly passengers.

“Air India is examining the creation of a no-fly list of unruly passengers, along the lines of other carriers,” a senior airline official said.

Several counts of such misbehavior on planes have been recorded over the past few months. Numerous airlines have filed complaints against drunk and unruly passengers for disrupting peaceful flight operations.

As per data emerging from media reports, close to 53 incidents of such brazenness has been recorded between July 2016 and February 2017.

In fact, the issue is frequent in case of global airlines as well, and data from International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that uruly passengers are one of the top concerns of cabin crew.

As per the air transport association, there were over 49,084 reported cases of unruly passenger incidents on board aircraft in flight between 2007 and 2015.

Out of these incidents, more than 10,000 have taken place in 2015. The body has also observed an increase in the number of such unruly behavior.

In this particular incident, the Air India duty manager Shivkumar, 60, had been assaulted by the Shiv Sena MP Gaikwad. The AI staffer later said that he never expected the issue to escalate to this extent.

“He misbehaved with me, he even broke my glasses. I never expected this could happen… God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs,” Shivkumar said. Gaikwad even tried to throw the duty manager off the plane.

Air India has already filed a complaint against the Shiv Sena MP, after he brazenly boasted that he hit a staff member with his slipper because he could not travel business class in an all-economy flight.

Condemning the attack on the AI staff member, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said no political party will endorse such an act.

“Any citizen hitting an airline staffer doesn’t make any sense… No political party will encourage physical assault. It should never have happened,” Raju said.

No action yet

Shiv Sena MP Manisha Kayande said the party did not support Gaikwad’s actions and demanded that the incident should be thoroughly investigated.

“Ravindra Gaikwad agreed that he has done it, however Shiv Sena does not advocate such behaviour. He is a popular MP. We want to find out what made him lose his temper, what instigated him should be probed,” Kayande said.

Gaikwad was also summoned by party chief Uddhav Thackeray who has sought explanation for the incident.

TIMES NOW also spoke to Shiv Sena’s Anil Desai who said it was a kneejerk reaction, and that it would be hard for him to comment on the issue without speaking to Gaikwad.

In an official statement, the Sena did make it clear that it does not endorse such violence. However, no action has been taken against the MP yet.

A repeat offender

This, however, is not the first time Gaikwad has been in the negative side of a story.

In 2014, Gaikwad was among a group of 11 Sena MPs who forced a Muslim catering supervisor Sh. Arshad to eat ‘chapati’ or flat bread during the month of Ramzan when Muslims keep fast. The reason given was that the group did not like the food that was served to them.

In fact, a few days earlier on March 21, the Sena MP was seen bashing a cop and intimidating him. The incident, backed by his previous track record, has been questioned by many activists and some beieve that the tainted politician should be sacked from his post.