Saturday, May 27, 2017

Raj Thackeray steps back as flight bars armed guards

New Delhi: Air India's (AI) troubles with the Shiv Sena and its offshoots show no sign of ending. Now, MNS chief Raj Thackeray refused to board an AI subsidiary, Alliance Air's, flight earlier this week because the airline — as per rules — did not allow the firebrand leader's armed security men to board the aircraft with weapons.
Raj was supposed to fly an Alliance Air turboprop aircraft from Mumbai to Madhya Pradesh and reached the airport with his armed security personnel. "Weapons are not allowed to be carried on board the ATR aircraft," said an AI spokesman.
But unlike Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who beat up an AI employee on March 23 for being made to fly economy class, Raj Thackeray did not create much of a scene and is learnt to have returned home. "He was upset but there were no ugly scenes at the airport as he did not go to board the aircraft without his security personnel," said sources. Raj was reportedly headed to Gwalior. The airline's top management has reportedly not received any letter of protest from MNS on this episode. Only some top dignitaries, who have "very high threat perception" are allowed to fly with armed security personnel when flying commercial airlines. Other VVIPs' security team has to check in their weapons and ammunition and then get the same after landing at the destination.
27/05/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India