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Indian Airlines Place Parliament Member on No-Fly List


MP Ravindra Gaikwad was grounded after a video emerged of the lawmaker beating an Air India employee with a slipper because he was denied a business class seat.

Member of Parliament Ravindra Gaikwad won’t need to ask the question “Do you know who I am?” when he boards a flight ever again. Airlines in India now know exactly who he is. In fact, most major airlines in the country, including Air India, have banned Gaikwad from booking any flights at all.

The fiery lawmaker earned the de facto travel ban after a violent incident on a Thursday morning flight from Pune International Airport (PNQ) to Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). A video of the bizarre onboard scuffle seems to show the politician repeatedly hitting an unidentified airline worker with a slipper. The confrontation was reportedly sparked when Gaikwad was assigned a seat in the economy class cabin rather than the business class accommodation he was expecting.

According to Gaikwad’s own account of the ugly incident, the MP not only refused to leave the plane for nearly an hour after arrival at DEL, but he also bragged about daring the responding police officers to arrest him.

The airline has filed criminal complaints against the legislator for assault and interfering with a flight.

While the MP admitted to his part in the melee, he remained defiant about his actions and has even demanded an apology from the airline.

“What did he say, that I hit him with my hand? I hit him 25 times with a slipper,” the elected official said in comments to New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV). “[The flight attendant] said I will complain to [Indian Prime Minister] Modi, so I hit him. Should I have to listen to this abuse?”

Despite official word of the ban being announced by the Federation of Indian Airlines, which represents most of the domestic carriers in the country, Gaikwad dismissed any notion that he would be denied boarding at the airport.

“I am booked on a 4pm flight to Pune,” he told reporters on Friday. “I will take that flight. How can they not let me travel when I have a booking and I am their passenger?”

Air India, however, canceled the MP’s return ticket claiming in a statement “we can’t fly Gaikwad on his return flight because our employees are agitated.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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jackthewelshman March 27, 2017

Good stuff, I'm glad this person who is supposed to represent his people, is being called out to show that this kind of behavior is not acceptable, and that Government officials are not or at least should not be above the law. Maybe they once were, but not in a modern, democratic, civilized society. I cannot believe his behavior that he thought it was OK to start smacking someone, slipper or no slipper!! And it is with the clear intention to dishonor and shame the other person. I hope he feels big and powerful when all of the economy passengers wave at him, when he's stuck on the highway on a long drive back home.