After Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad’s fiasco with Air India, Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Sunil Gaikwad has complained of harassment at airports. According to him, he was stopped multiple times for security checks because of his surname.
The Maharashtra MP has apprised Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha of the matter. “I had to face hardship due to the Gaikwad surname when I was flying on Friday from Hyderabad to Latur,” Gaikwad told NDTV.
Gaikwad further alleged that his personal assistant also had to face a lot of trouble while booking his ticket on an Air India flight. “When the ticket was finally booked, it was in the back. I had to ask them for a first row ticket after I reached the airport,” the MP told the news channel.
The 46-year-old lawmaker added that he was denied a business class ticket on his last two flights with Air India. “I was made to feel as if being a Gaikwad is a crime. I was disturbed by the behaviour of the private security and the CISF personnel at the airport security gate,” he told The Times of India.
Air India has twice cancelled Ravindra Gaikwad’s tickets after he assaulted a staff member 25 times with his slippers following a verbal spat over a seat. The MP was forced to take a train to Delhi on March 28. Air India and the Federation of Indian Airlines, which represents four other carriers, had barred Gaikwad from their flights.
The Shiv Sena, however, has defended its Osmanabad MP by saying that he only reacted to “insulting comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi”. The party has also released video footage that claims that it was Ravindra Gaikwad who was abused first and that his actions were merely in “self-defence”. “This new video makes it clear that Gaikwad was abused and then pushed around,” Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena MP from South Mumbai, had said.