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