Major Indian airlines ban MP who beat official

Indian parliament building

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The MP appeared to be unrepentant about the attack

An MP who beat an airline employee repeatedly with a slipper has been banned on five major Indian airlines.

Ravindra Gaikwad said he “hit him 25 times with my sandal” for “arrogance” after failing to get a business class seat on an Air India flight.

Air India, which filed a complaint on Thursday, said Mr Gaikwad was banned on all flights operated by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA).

Members of the FIA include IndiGo, Go Air, Spice Jet and Jet Airways.

All the airlines are dominant players in India’s domestic aviation industry.

In a statement, the FIA also called for “strict action” against Mr Gaikwad by law enforcement agencies.

“We believe that an assault on any one of our employees is an assault on all of us and on ordinary law-abiding citizens of our country who work hard to earn a living,” the statement said.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association has also issued a statement, saying that it has asked its member pilots not to operate any flight on which Mr Gaikwad is a passenger.

The MP had been told he could not fly business class on the Pune to Delhi flight because it was an all-economy flight, reports say. The altercation happened when the duty manager was called after the plane landed in Delhi and the MP refused to get off.

The MP told the media: “I am not a BJP MP. I am a Shiv Sena MP and will not tolerate any insult. Let the employee complain. I will complain to the Speaker and other authorities.”

On Friday he continued to insist that he would not apologise to the employee, identified as a 60-year-old man.

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PArliament of india

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Picture of MP Ravinda Gaikwad from government website

The airline staff member told Asian News International that the MP had broken his glasses in the attack.

“When I told him what he was asking wasn’t possible, he became abusive and started using foul language,” he said. “God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs.”

The story was the top trending topic on Twitter in India on Thursday.

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@harishkarg

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People took to social media to talk about the incident

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@GitaSKapoor

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Many are angry with the MP’s behaviour and attitude after the assault

Ashok Ganapathi Raju, the civil aviation minister, told reporters at parliament on Thursday: “No citizen will behave like this. Physical assault won’t be encouraged and will always be condemned.”

Last year an Indian MP was arrested for alleging slapping an airline official at an airport in Andhra Pradesh after being told he could not board a flight with his family after the gate had closed.

The Shiv Sena party is a junior coalition partner in the Maharashtra state government, which is ruled by India’s governing BJP.

Over time, it has acquired a reputation for promoting religious and ethnic chauvinism, and has resorted to physical attacks against those its members and supporters oppose.

In 2015, Shiv Sena activists doused the head of an Indian think-tank in black ink to protest against his support for the launch of a book by a former Pakistani foreign minister.

Major Indian airlines ban MP who beat official}

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