Supporters of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who assaulted an Air India staffer in Delhi last week, on March 27 staged a bandh in Osmanabad district to protest his 'humiliation' over the incident.
"We have called for the Osmanabad bandh to protest the humiliation of our leader by the airlines who have denied him flying rights," Sena district vice president Kamlakar Chavan told PTI over phone. "Is he a terrorist that he has been barred from flying
by all airlines," Chavan said.
"The testimony of an air hostess on board that flight shows he (Gaikwad) was not at fault," he added. "Considering its Gudi Padwa tomorrow, we have asked traders to observe the bandh (shut shops) only till 4 pm today to enable people to do festival shopping," Chavan said.
Meanwhile, Gaikwad has refused to reveal his whereabouts. "I can't tell you where I am right now. I am with my family members and I will celebrate Gudi Padwa with them before returning to Parliament on Wednesday morning," he said.
The Osmanabad MP said he is lying low on his party's instructions. "I have been asked to stay quiet," he added. On Friday, Gaikwad had boarded the August Kranti Express, which left for Mumbai from Hazrat Nizamuddin station at 4.50 PM but did not get down at the Mumbai Central station here as expected.
He is understood to have got down at Vapi station in Gujarat, Sena sources had said on Saturday. The 57-year-old MP had on Thursday allegedly abused and assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of Air India R Sukumar with slippers for not being able to fly business class despite having boarded an all-economy Pune-New Delhi flight.
The official was repeatedly hit with sandals when he persuaded the MP to disembark after the plane landed at the IGI airport from Pune following which two FIRs were registered against him by the Delhi police on the basis of the complaint lodged by Air India. Also, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has sought an explanation from him over the incident.
Gaikwad had refused to alight, holding up the aircraft for over 40 minutes. The MP has been barred from flying all major domestic airlines as he refused to apologise for the incident that triggered nationwide outrage.
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