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IndiGo, Air India ban comedian Kunal Kamra for accosting Arnab Goswami on IndiGo flight

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 29, 2020 Published on January 29, 2020

Kunal Kamra   -  Facebook

Indigo and Air India on Tuesday announced that they will be barring comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with the airlines in light of his recent behaviour on an IndigGo flight bound for Lucknow.

Comedian Kunal Kamra on Tuesday had posted a video on his Twitter account where he was heard heckling journalist Arnab Goswami for his “brand of journalism”.

“Met Arnab Goswami on a flight & gave him a monologue about his ‘journalism’. All he did was call me mentally unstable & after sometime I had no choice but to return to my seat,” Kamra had tweeted

Kamra asked Goswami to confront him as he was an “anti-national” and a part of the “tukde tukde gang” and urged him to read Rohit Vemula’s letter and “educate himself”. The latter chose not to respond.

Kamra posted the video with the caption, “I did this for my hero...I did it for Rohit.”

“Arnab this is for the national interest. I am part of the tukde tukde narrative. You should deflate me,” Kamra said in the video.

Mixed responses

The tweet garnered mixed responses from Twitterati with many lauding him for the act, calling it an act of bravery. While others criticised Kamra for his behaviour, calling him out for causing inconvenience to other passengers and asking the Ministry of Aviation to put him on the No Fly List.

 

Kamra later tweeted an official statement where he clarified his stance on the matter, adding that he does not regret what happened.

 

Kamra in his tweet and statement had said that he did it for Rohit referring to Rohit Vemula.

Vemula had committed suicide after being suspended along with four other students from the University of Hyderabad after a complaint had been filed against the students by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the BJP. Vemula had been unable to manage expenses and get by post-suspension. He had left a letter explaining the circumstances of his suicide and how a man was reduced to “just a vote”.

His death had sparked protests across the nation raising caste issues.

Soon after the incident, Goswami, then a part of Times Now, had held a debate on the channel with panellists including Dr Sambit Patra, National Spokesperson, BJP; Udit Raj, MP, BJP; Asaduddin Owaisi, Chief & MP, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen(AIMIM); and Prof Kancha Illiah, Dalit activist & author, among others.

He had also organised a debate later on his own channel Republic TV discussing Vemula’s suicide report. His coverage had extensively focused on the fact that perhaps Vemula’’s death had been politicised by some to benefit using the ‘Dalit card’.

“This is for Rohit Vemula’s mother, whose caste you were discussing on your show,” Kamra had said in the video.

Airlines and Aviation Ministry’s response

IndiGo sent out a tweet through its official twitter account where the airline announced that it had barred Kamra from flying with Indigo for the next six months over the incident.

 

“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. 2/2

@MoCA_GoI @HardeepSPuri,” the airline further said.

The ban may likely extend to other airlines as Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, responding to IndiGo’s tweet had urged other airlines to condemn such behaviour.

“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,” Puri said.

Air India followed suit by banning Kamra from flying with the airline until further notice.

Now, Kamra is also on the No Fly list of SpiceJet until further notice.

Published on January 29, 2020
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