Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra was suspended from flying by IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir for allegedly heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on one of IndiGo planes.
Kunal Kamra while posting the video said that he did it for Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar who committed suicide at the University of Hyderabad campus in 2016 after being harassed by groups allegedly affiliated to the BJP and the RSS.
IndiGo suspended Kamra from flying with the airlines for a period of six months, Air India, on the other hand, banned him until further notice.
#FlyAI: In view of the incident onboard @IndiGo6E, Air India wishes to inform that conduct of Person concerned is unacceptable.With a view to discourage such behavior onboard flts, Mr Kunal Kamra is suspended from flying on any Air India flt until further notice. @HardeepSPuri .
— Air India (@airindiain) January 28, 2020
“In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour,” the IndiGo airline said in a tweet in which Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri was also tagged.
— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E) January 28, 2020
“Hereby, we wish to advise our passengers to refrain from indulging in personal slander whilst onboard, as this can potentially compromise the safety of fellow passengers,” it added.
Replying to IndiGo’s tweet, Puri condemned Kamra’s behaviour and advised other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the comedian.
Offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable & endangers safety of air travellers.
We are left with no option but to advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned. https://t.co/UHKKZfdTVS
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) January 28, 2020
Following the suspensions by Indigo and Air India, SpiceJet has also suspended Kamra from flying with the airline, while Vistara has said it will review the incident and follow due procedure.
— SpiceJet (@flyspicejet) January 29, 2020
“Vistara stands firm with its zero-tolerance policy against any behaviour or act that compromises the safety, security and dignity of its customers and staff. We will review and follow due process in such cases,” a Vistara spokeperson told a new agency.
After Spicejet’s statement, Kunal Kamra tweeted with sarcasm asking PM Modi if he could.
Modiji can I walk yaan uspe bhi baan hai…
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 29, 2020
GoAir became the fourth airlines to put the suspension on Kunal Kamra following Indigo, Air India and Spicejet as they put out a tweet saying that the comedian was suspended from flying till further notice.
— GoAir (@goairlinesindia) January 29, 2020
Kamra’s act gained support from Twitterati, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor who, referring to Goswami, said that “it was time someone gave him a taste of his own medicine”.
The truth is that it was time someone gave him a taste of his own medicine. These are the words he regularly uses to berate his innocent victims, except he does so in a hectoring, bullying manner & at higher volume & pitch than @kunalkamra88 does in this video. https://t.co/e94B8WcEtj
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 28, 2020
Kamra posted the video clip on Twitter in which he can be heard demanding a reply from Goswami, asking him if he is a “coward or a journalist or a nationalist” but the editor of Republic TV kept mum.
I did this for my hero…
I did it for Rohit pic.twitter.com/aMSdiTanHo
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 28, 2020
Tweeple also questioned why Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur was not suspended for her altercation with cabin crew that resulted in the flight being delayed by 45 minutes.
Pragya Thakur will get away with terrorism, angry entitlement and of course brazen support of Godse in Lok Sabha, country’s highest house.
BUT GOD FORBID IF KUNAL KAMRA USED ARNAB’s DECIBEL LEVEL QUESTIONING ON ARNAB – SIX MONTHS BAN ON FLYING, DESH NIKALA.
— richa singh (@richa_singh) January 28, 2020
In light of Indigo and Air India suspending Kunal Kamra for inconveniencing one passenger on board a flight, just wanted to remind y’all that terror accused Pragya Thakur was rude to fellow passengers and delayed a Spice Jet flight by 45 minutes. Thakur has not been suspended.
— Deepanjana (@dpanjana) January 28, 2020
THAT is excessive, I agree. Why should a minister be required for that. The airline should have been doing this on their own. And I was also disappointed that Pragya Thakur was not dealt the same way for disruption of scheduled flight. Rules should be the same for everyone.
— Yashwant Deshmukh 🇮🇳 (@YRDeshmukh) January 29, 2020