A senior Indian lawmaker on Thursday, bragged about hitting an employee of the national carrier, Air India with his slipper as he was denied a business class seat in a Delhi-bound flight.
Air India, Indigo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and GoAir have banned Ravindra Gaikwad, the lawmaker from the western state of Maharashtra’s regional Hindu fundamentalist Shiv Sena party, from flying with them.
The incident took place when Gaikwad was coming to Delhi from the Maharashtra’s Pune city on an Air India flight that apparently did not have a business class.
When Gaikwad’s flight landed in Delhi around 10.30AM on Thursday, he refused to get off the plane for nearly an hour.
An Air India manager, Sukumar Raman boarded the plane to persuade the MP to exit. That was when Gaikwad hit him repeatedly.
60-year old Raman, in his complaint to the police said that his glasses were broken during the assault.
After thrashing the Air India employee, the Shiv Sena parliamentarian even bragged about in when local TV channels sought his reaction to the incident.
“He was arrogant. I hit him 25 times with my sandal,” he told the media.
Gaikwad said he booked a business class ticket, however, the airline said it had notified his office that the flight he chose operates entirely with economy seats.
The Air India flight crew has, however, alleged that he was “humiliated in front of the entire crew and his spectacles were broken.”
As the chorus for action against the 57-year-old lawmaker grew stronger, Indian Aviation Minister quipped, “No citizen should ever resort to any kind of physical assault let alone an Member of Parliament.”
Even the BJP has strongly condemned the incident.
“Elected representatives need to respect people who are doing their job, irrespective of whether the Air India man was rude,” said Shaina NC, the BJP spokesperson.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Gaikwad said: “I dare the Delhi police to arrest me…I will not apologize, he (Air India manager) must come to me and apologise.”
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