‘Which law prevents an MLA from travelling by air?’
Actor Shatrughan Sinha (above), BJP’s most outspoken representative, has spoken out against the national carrier Air India’s decision to ban Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying with it, demanding to know which law allowed the airline to do so in order to teach an individual a lesson.
Gaikwad allegedly behaved in an unruly manner when taking a Mumbai-Delhi Air India flight in March, assaulting a senior staff member after the flight landed in New Delhi. Later, he expressed his “regret”, but the Air India staff issued a statement against the MP, insisting on an “unconditional apology”.
Very recently, Air India cancelled Gaikwad’s ticket for a flight that he intended to take. Sinha reacted to that decision, asking, “By whose consent is this MP grounded? I believe Air India and other airlines have banned the MP’s travel. I want to know which law of this land prevents any individual from flying by any airline. Even the most hardened criminals, politicians with countless cases imposed on them, are free to travel by any airline. Why then is Mr Gaikwad being singled out for this unique punishment. And whose punishment?”
The parliamentarian, who has the nickname Shotgun Sinha in the film industry, wants to make it clear that he doesn’t condone the assault, but that any penalty should come from the right quarters. “If Mr Gaikwad is guilty, let the law of the land deal with him. Why are the airlines acting like a collective judiciary? I’m worried about what precedence Mr Gaikwad’s flying ban can set. Tomorrow, some airlines may object to Sanjay Dutt flying, just because he has been to jail. Or they can stop me from flying.”