No positive response by govt on lifting of flying ban on MP

No positive response by govt on lifting of flying ban on MP

The issue of assault of an Air India staffer by a Shiv Sena MP resonated in the Lok Sabha today, with his party demanding revocation of a ban on his flying but it got no positive response from the government which justified the action by the airlines.

Members of the Shiv Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP, created uproar in the House and at one point of time, engaged in a verbal duel with Congress members who slammed Ravindra Gaikwad for his action.

The Shiv Sena's Leader in the House Anandrao Adsul, who raised the issue, said he was only seeking lifting of the ban on flying imposed on Gaikwad by all major airlines after he assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of Air India on March 23.

However, Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju, instead of giving any positive response, admonished Gaikwad for indulging in violence on the flight last week.

"I never in my wildest dreams thought that an MP will get caught in such an incident," he said, while emphasising that "Violence of any kind can be disastrous."

Referring to an earlier incident of violence by an MP against an airline staffer last year, Raju said following that episode, the DGCA had come out with safety guidelines.

The same guidelines were invoked in the case of Gaikwad who has been barred from flying by all the major airlines. Adsul said the ban was against the Constitution and the law and that the government must intervene immediately.

He also talked about privileges of the MPs, responding to which the minister said, "An MP is also a passenger...We have to keep safety issues in mind." Adsul referred to a recent incident of alleged misbehaviour by comedian Kapil Sharma during a flight to Australia and wondered why no action was taken against him.

To this, Raju said, "We cannot have an unequal approach" but did not elaborate.With the minister giving no positive response, the Shiv Sena members expressed their unhappiness by trooping into the Well of the House.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told them that it was not right. "Message achha nahi jaa rahi hai (The message going out is not good)... This is not the way," she said and told the agitating members to discuss and resolve their issues with the Civil Aviation Minister.

The Speaker said the Shiv Sena members were trying to support something that is "wrong". "Being a public representative, the incident he (Gaikwad) was involved in, does not send the right message," she said. "Mujhe zyaada bholne pe majhboor na kare (Don't force me to speak more on the issue)," Mahajan said.

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