IndiGo Airlines on Tuesday suspended stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra for 6 months for allegedly heckling Assam-born senior journalist Arnab Goswami onboard a flight.
According to media reports, Air India has also suspended Kamra from flying with it until further notice.
Reports said Arnab Goswami, the founder of Republic TV, was shocked when stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra accosted him on a flight from Mumbai to Lucknow on Tuesday.
Kamra, who filmed the entire incident and posted the same on the social media, called Goswami out for his journalism and called him a ‘coward’.
*My Statement* pic.twitter.com/cxFcSCq0Jf
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 28, 2020
In a video clip posted by stand-up comedian on his Twitter handle, karma is seen asking Goswami if he is a “coward or a journalist”.
Journalist Goswami is seen glued to his laptop in the video with earphones plugged in.
He did not respond to Kamra’s questions and comments that included a reference to the death of student Rohit Vemula.
Kamra tweeted: Today I met Arnab Goswami in a flight to Lucknow (6E 5317), and politely asked him to have a conversation. At first, he pretended to be on a phone call. I waited for his so called phone call to get over. Seatbelt signs were off at this time. I gave him a monologue about what I felt about his “journalism”. He refused to answer any questions, he called me ‘mentally unstable’.”
Kamra is heard as saying in the video clip: “Viewers want to know if Arnab today is a coward or a nationalist. Arnab, this is for national interest. I am part of the tukde-tukde narrative. You should deflate me. You should take the enemy of the states down. You should make sure that the country is in safe hands of Narendra Modi.”
In the video clip, Kamra is further heard as saying: “You should fight against dynasts like Rahul Gandhi, who I support, on 10 Tughlaq Lane. Arnab, you should have a reply, Arnab. Arnab, are you a coward or are you a journalist? Are you a coward or are you a journalist or a nationalist? Who are you, Arnab? Who are you?”
“You know, you do not deserve my politeness. This is not for you. This is for Rohith Vemula’s mother whose caste you were discussing on your…show. I know this is not allowed. This is fine. It’s fine if it is not allowed. I’d go to jail for this.
Kamra is also heard as saying: “But this is for Rohit’s mother. And go…find time and read that 10-page suicide letter that Rohit wrote so that you have some emotion or some heart or you just become human. Do that. Do that you in your free time. You nationalist.”
“I did this for my hero…
I did it for Rohit,” Kamra further tweeted.
The Indigo after suspending Kunal Kamra said on its Twitter handle: “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. 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.”
While responding to IndiGo’s decision Kamra said “thank you Indigo a six month suspension is honestly very kind of you”.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri exhorted other airlines to take the cue from IndiGo and impose ‘similar restrictions’ on Kunal Kamra.
Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted: “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.”
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