Shiv Sena goon oh sorry leader Ravindra Gaikwad will fly again. Air India has been forced to withdraw it’s ban on the miscreant sorry MP. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked Air India to revoke the ban it had imposed on Gaikwad following his unruly behaviour onboard its flight. On 23 March, 2017, Gaikwad almost tried to kill a 60-year old Air India staffer. He had lost his cool that he had to fly in an all economy seat flight inspite of buying a business class seat. He bragged about beating up the staffer and admitted to have hit him 25 times with his chappals. When another crew member tried to reason with him that if he threw him off the flight, he would be charged with murder, a brazen Gaikwad responded: “I don’t care, there are many such cases against me.”
What ensued was a show of immense strength by Air India. They refused to fly Gaikwad till he apologised. Ashwani Lohani, Air India chief showed immense spine in standing up against VIP culture. In an interview to a magazine, he said: “Clients do not come first, employees come first…We need to stand up for people we work with.” Other airlines also followed suit and stood by Air India banning Gaikwad.
The reason why the country was cheering for Air India for standing up for their employee is because we all have been victims of VIP racism at some point in our life. The one with the SUV has more muscle-power than the humble Alto owner. The one owning the house hardly treats his tenants as human beings. The boss doesn’t give two shits about your ailing mother back home. Any lal batti gaadi on the street means you are stuck in a traffic jam forever. The sickening VIP culture pervades all aspects of our life. So when we saw, Gaikwad being punished and a boss standing up for the dignity of his employee we felt humanity still hasn’t lost it’s basic essence.
The Civil Aviation Minister held his own for couple of days in the Parliament and expedited the process of filing an FIR against Gaikwad. But eventually he had to give up. This is the same government that passed the Finance Bill without any discussion, bypassing the Opposition. This is the same government that is supposed to enjoy brute majority in Parliament and push through its agenda with an iron hand. So when a supposed strong government fails to hold its ground in front of a party that thrives on goodaism, it is a clear indication that it never had the political will to take on Gaikwad at the first place. All this while it was only putting up a pretense of being pro-common people.
Interestingly, on 6 April, Gaikwad wrote a letter Civil Avaition Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju urging him to intervene. Now the same letter is being cited as an apology letter by the Civil Aviation Ministry to justify it’s decision. The letter doesn’t have the word apology any where. He merely expresses “regret”. He didn’t take any ownership of his actions. Neither did he show any willingness to apologise to Air India. He was merely expresses concern about how the restriction on flying is stopping him from discharging his duties.
Here’s a copy of the letter.
All Gaikwad needed to get this ban lifted was to apologise to the Air India staffer and promised to never unleash the beast on him when he is public. But why should an MP apologise to a common man. Gaikwad had the full backing of his own party. Referring to Lohani, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay’s Raut asked, “what is his aukat”. Indeed, the Civil Aviation Minister reminded the common man what our aukat is. That any VIP can slap us and get away with it. What better can you expect in a country that values its cows more than it’s people.