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23 March was a sad day for In­dia's democ­racy. Though In­dia's par­lia­ment is filled with mem­bers with crim­i­nal back­ground and in­dulging in foul lan­guage and be­hav­iour is not at all un­com­mon for them, Shiv Sena MP Ravin­dra Gaik­ward went sev­eral notches down and beat up an el­derly staff of Air In­dia 25 times with his slip­pers. The num­ber of as­saults was enu­mer­ated to peo­ple by the per­pe­tra­tor him­self, clearly re­veal­ing to us that our par­lia­men­tar­i­ans have no fear of the law. They can harm any­body and ev­ery­body with im­punity.

On that day, iron­i­cally cel­e­brated as Sha­heed Di­was to com­mem­o­rate the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice of our free­dom fight­ers Bha­gat Singh, Ra­jguru and Sukhdev, who laid down their lives for a free In­dia, the sub­ju­ga­tion of the weak at the hands of the mighty came back to haunt our minds. The Shiv Sena MP was New Delhi bound in flight num­ber AI 852, vis­i­bly up­set that he had not been al­lot­ted a busi­ness class seat which he had re­quested.

Ap­par­ently, that flight was an all econ­omy car­rier and the same had been com­mu­ni­cated to the PA of the Os­man­abad MP by the

air­lines man­ager. But Gaik­ward still boarded the flight with an open busi­ness class ticket as he wanted to reach the na­tional cap­i­tal at the ear­li­est. Here's where the drama started.

When the flight reached New Delhi, he re­fused to de­board, thus ob­struct­ing the crew mem­bers' work who had to pre­pare the flight to op­er­ate to Goa shortly. Even af­ter sev­eral re­minders he re­fused to va­cate the air­craft for al­most an hour, forc­ing 115 Goa-bound pas­sen­gers to wait for board­ing. Ul­ti­mately, he started hit­ting the 60year-old duty man­ager of Air In­dia with his slip­pers.

What fol­lowed in the af­ter­math was even more shame­ful. Al­though the Air In­dia and all other pri­vate car­ri­ers passed a res­o­lu­tion black­list­ing the of­fender, the Civil Avi­a­tion min­istry com­pelled them to lift the travel ban in a few days' time. The min­istry it­self was un­der duress as the Shiv Sena had threat­ened to dis­rupt air traf­fic in and out of Pune and Mum­bai. which again re­veals the help­less­ness of the gov­ern­ment and the law en­forc­ing agen­cies to rein in vi­o­la­tors of the law.

Sur­pris­ingly, Gaik­ward, or for that mat­ter Shiv Sena MPS, are not new to con­tro­ver­sies and un­ruly be­hav­iour. Gaik­ward him­self is a re­peat of­fender. He has many cr­mi­nal cases pend­ing against him and there are com­plaints that he had been in­volved in in­tim­i­da­tion and ri­ot­ing. More in­fa­mously, he was one of the ac­cused in the 2014 Ramzan row in New Ma­ha­rash­tra Sadan in which 11 Sena MPS tried to force-feed a Mus­lim em­ployee who was on a fast.

In an­other in­ci­dent i n 2016, Shiv Sena leader Shashikan­tkalgude as­saulted a woman traf­fic po­lice con­sta­ble who

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