Non-committal on rules to be made more stringent to deal with unruly passengers, civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today said he is not an “astrologer” even as he asserted safety norms would same for all including MPs. His comments come in the wake of fresh clamour for stricter rules to deal with the unruly behaviour of VIPs after his fellow TDP MP Diwakar Reddy allegedly created ruckus at Vizag airport after being denied boarding by IndiGo for being late. In a show of unity, all major domestic airlines have barred Reddy from taking their flights — similar to action taken by the carriers after the incident involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad earlier this year. Following the Gaikwad incident, the government framed draft rules for a national no-fly list for unruly passengers and proposed a flying ban on such persons that can range from three months to an indefinite period. The government is expected to finalise these rules shortly.
On whether he would impose stricter rules so that such incidents do not happen in the future, Raju said, “I am not going to do any jyothisham (astrology)… I am not a person who forecast things. So I don’t take the role of an astrologer and hypothetical question is not what I can answer.” ” When asked about the MP’s unruly behaviour, Raju told reporters, “It is not expected out of any citizen either.” “Forget a Parliament member. It is not expected of anyone pushing, pulling, hammering people. This is not the thing. Law will take its own course,” he told reporters. Earlier in the day, Raju tweeted saying that he would get the entire incident “enquired into” and would ensure that “lawful outcomes” follow.
“There is no need for a probe. What are you going to probe. The CCTV cameras said it… There are no separate regulations for different classes of people. The safety regulations are the same for all classes including me,” he told reporters. DGCA has issued a safety regulation that people are expected to report 45 minutes before taking a flight but the member had not done it. It is clear from the CCTV cameras, Raju noted. Responding to a query on whether he helped Reddy at the Vizag airport, Raju said the latter told him that he waited for an hour and was being denied boarding.”I said we have a third umpire called the CCTV cameras and we don’t have to take anybody’s words for it. The CCTV camera showed what the situation was and I asked the airport director to verify from the CCTV cameras,” Raju said.
On whether TDP would take any action against Reddy, the minister evaded a direct reply.”No political party asks any citizen, including members, to behave badly. Bad behaviour has nothing to do with the party and may I make myself very clear about that. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour and good behaviour is good behaviour,” he said.