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  Opinion   Edit  25 Mar 2017  ‘No-fly’ abusers’ list is long overdue

‘No-fly’ abusers’ list is long overdue

Published : Mar 25, 2017, 1:54 am IST
Updated : Mar 25, 2017, 2:40 am IST

The one favour the Gaikwad incident may have done to the system is to shock it into action.

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad. (Photo: ANI Twitter)
 Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad. (Photo: ANI Twitter)

The incident involving an MP who hit an airline staffer and even boasted about it is one of the most reprehensible instances of VIP misbehaviour. This should awaken the nation to the menace of excesses by leaders elected by the people. The ugly event in which the MP broadcast the fact that he hit an elderly Air India duty manager at least 25 times with his sandals because he hadn’t been accommodated in business class on an all-economy flight has spurred some action, in that Air India, forever beholden to the political class, has been jolted into banning Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying with it, while a federation of four private airlines put him on a permanent “no-fly” list.

The explosive public reaction on social media may have been a catalyst to such action, but the problem is far more complex in a nation known for sycophancy and its virtual worship of netas. Flying VIPs would possibly be the top category of abusers of the system who hog all possible privileges, from premium parking, waiving of frisking at security checkpoints, use of lounges, upgrades to executive class; besides of course assuming the right to delay flights, holding up hundreds of passengers. There are too many examples of the ways in which elected representatives aggrandise the privileges that come with state ownership, from train travel on the railway monopoly to using public roads with reckless abandon under revolving beacon lights and sirens which endanger hundreds of road users per minute while one privileged leader “rushes” to serve his “subjects”.

A permanent “no-fly” list of abusive passengers, whether VIPs or not, is the least protection the system can give itself to stave off the embarrassment caused to hardworking airline employees and the general public, who have as much right to use the same privileges for, after all, they pay for everything they use. Beyond such protective measures, what we must do is to expose the behaviour of such people every time, so that the system itself changes. It is up to the Shiv Sena now to further punish its deviant MP if it believes in common values like decency in public life. VIP culture can be uprooted only if the world of privilege is ended by government employees. They are there to serve the people through their masters, and are not “servants” as the common reference to them makes them out to be.  If only today’s MPs and sundry VIPs seen how many of our cultured leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee behaved, like standing in line at airport counters for a boarding pass, they may have learnt a thing or two about civilised behaviour. The one favour the Gaikwad incident may have done to the system is to shock it into action.

Tags: misbehaviour, ravindra gaikwad, air india