Netas want action against Sena MP for assault on airline staff

Netas want action against Sena MP for assault on airline staff

Leaders across party lines reacted sharply today 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.

"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 today 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 a 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. 

Shaina NC of BJP said that the incident should be condemned in totality in one voice.

"This is not about Shiv Sena, Congress, BJP or any party, it is about a conduct of an elected representative especially when you are in a position of power.

"Assuming there is somebody who is not polite to you, the least one expects from elected representative is to show restraint in a situation where you have not just public watching but the entire aircraft wondering if this is going to be the conduct of a politician," she said.

She wondered how will ever people have respect for the political class which chooses only VIP oneupmanship and one cannot justify this.

"When we talk about probity in public life, or certain kind of restrain, it stems from your leadership, and if you are MP, MLA, corporator, even a Panchayat Samiti member, you should show some kind of restrain to your position and your electorate," she said.

NCP leader Majeed Memom termed the incident as "sad and distressing" where one finds people holding important positions and those are supposed to be leaders involved in such incidents.

"If such people's misdemeanour is to the extent of turning violent for smallest provocation and reacting with physical assault, it is a matter of great disgrace. Their bosses should take serious action against erring legislators and law must take its own course.

"What was the provocation for raising hand on a government employee? These things are happening often in our country and needs to be seriously examined and we must have some kind of provision, ethically, legally or politically, whereby, if such incidents occur, political bosses will swing into action and punish the person appropriately," he said.

Another NCP leader Rahul Narvekar termed the incident as that of "extreme highhandedness and unfortunate".

"The MP has forgotten that he is here to serve the people and not to rule them. Strict action should be initiated against such erring public representatives. We demand that necessary penal action should be taken.

"He has not only done disservice to the people, but he has brought complete disrepute to the office of an MP, if this continues, people will lose faith in public representatives," he said. 

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