Bihar MP Pappu Yadav’s alleged misbehaviour with an airhostess and his threat to hit her with his slippers has once again revealed the ugly mindset of power-drunk lawmakers. Yadav’s in-flight behaviour of lifting his leg and asking the airhostess to mop the floor was disgusting. Airhostesses have as much right to dignity and respect as MPs. No passenger, whoever he may be, has a right to ill-treat them. Arrogant lawmakers like Pappu Yadav forget that they are not aristocrats of the feudal era but elected representatives. People they represent trust they would conduct themselves in a decent manner, so that they do not bring any shame to them by reflection. Yadav needs to be censured for his misbehaviour with the airhostess. More so, because he has stayed for many years in jail during the trial for the murder of CPI-M MLA of Bihar Ajit Sarkar in his native district of Purnia in Bihar, and his behaviour during his stay in jail was not decent. During his incarceration he violated jail rules, acquired cell phones and made more than 600 calls. He turned the prison into his personal estate. On being released on bail he entered the prison to have a party with his former inmates!
Elected representatives enjoy several privileges at airports and on board. There is long list of VVIPs among elected representatives who are not frisked and allowed to move on fast-track through the security channels. Some of them misuse the privileges to violate rules. Senior Andhra Pradesh politician Ashok Gajapathi Raju boasted that he had been breaking a critical aviation safety rule ever since he became the aviation minister. Being exempt from frisking at airports as a cabinet minister, Raju – a heavy smoker – was carrying matchboxes on flights. Aviation safety rules throughout the world do not allow carrying matchboxes and lighters. Before becoming a cabinet minister Raju, like other flyers, would have got his matchboxes and lighters confiscated at security frisking gates before being allowed to proceed to board the flight. The carrying of a matchbox by Raju in flight reflected a lawmaker’s arrogance similar to Pappu Yadav’s: “I am above law. Nobody can touch me.”
The height of it all is when they try to justify their violations. Pappu Yadav cooked up his excuses for his misbehaviour. Raju justified matchbox in his pocket saying, “You can’t hijack a plane with a matchbox. I am yet to come across an incident worldwide where a matchbox became a threat.” The risk this country runs is that such lawless lawmakers get away with their violations without any punishment. That makes them think they do not need to reform themselves. Had Raju been penalised for his violation he would have never done it again. But in spite of knowing all the danger of allowing matchboxes and lighters on board the airlines kept quiet. Matchboxes and lighters can be used to start a fire on an aircraft. Matchheads can be crushed and the powder collected can be used as explosives. Lighters have a reservoir for fuel. When airborne, flame can burst out of a lighter due to air pressure. These are not just a security threat, but also a safety hazard.
Of course, the Pappus and Rajus are not the rule. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was in Jaipur recently, stood in the queue with other passengers to board the flight and did not accept any VIP treatment at the Sanganer airport. We need more lawmakers who are equally humble and have respect for ordinary passengers, airhostesses and aviation rules.
A fanatical white supremacist shoots nine blacks dead in a church in South Carolina: how different such monstrous racism is from Islamic terrorism? Much like Islamic terrorists, the gunman Dylann Roof chose his targets as they were rich symbols of black civil rights movement. The church, known as Mother Emanuel, was founded in 1816 by Black congregants who withdrew from the local Methodist church over mistreatment and bigotry. Its members met in secret in the years when Black churches were outlawed before the Civil War, and it contains a shrine to one of its founders, who helped organise a slave revolt in 1822. Its 41-year-old pastor Pinckney was a well-known civil rights leader in Charleston. Some Americans wonder why a black President too has failed to protect blacks. It is not within the means of US President alone to eliminate violence by racist or religious bigots. The country has to band together. The whites have to fight the supremacists among themselves. Administrative and legal safeguards alone would not help. Social safeguards must provide them a solid base of amity.