The Federation of Indian Airlines has shown some spine finally to come out in support of Air India and its aggrieved staffer who was beaten up by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad with his slipper 25 times onboard a flight. Air India and FIA banned Gaikwad from flying on their aircraft from immediate effect.
The MP had assaulted the staffer after the latter asked him to vacate the plane after it had landed in Delhi but he was miffed as he didn’t get to fly in business class. It is also good to see that the FIA came in support of a non-member airline–Air India. Members of the FIA include IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir.
There are signs that when self-styled heavyweights like Gaikwad try to bully, there is some unity in the airline sector which will safeguard the honour of employees in such situations.
MPs, MLAs and other ‘VVIPs’ have caused many fracas and created a nuisance in the past at many places and have gotten away easily.
In August 2015, a BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh Kalu Singh created a ruckus at a toll plaza near Indore and the incident was caught on camera. The MLA had refused to pay the toll tax when demanded by officials of the toll plaza. Last year, Rajasthan BJP MLA Sriram Bhincher created a ruckus at a toll booth and passed without paying the toll charges and brought 50 cars along with him as a show of strength.
The same year, Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Sultan Beg allegedly manhandled and verbally abused the Bareilly Railway Junction station master when the former was asked to enter his name and other details in the guest register for opening the VIP waiting lounge. Beg later complained of dereliction of duty. In July last year, three Congress MLAs in Chhattisgarh also accused Railway staff of corruption and created a ruckus inside a train after their MLA quota berths were given to them on waiting status.
While finally the Shiv Sena furnished some sort of condemnation in the Gaekwad case, the MP stay unrepentant. But the action from his party came only after the FIA showed support for the abused staffer Sukumar and Air India.
Strong action like this is must to stop VVIPs who try to breach the law and it is always a relief when bodies like the FIA stand up to such bullies.