Comedian Kunal Kamra on Tuesday was suspended from flying on IndiGo airline for six months after he posted a video in which he was seen heckling journalist Arnab Goswami. Kamra’s conduct on board the flight from Mumbai to Lucknow was “unacceptable”, the airline said.
“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,” IndiGo tweeted.
In the video that Kamra posted on Twitter on Tuesday evening he is seen calling Goswami a “coward” and mocking him for being a “nationalist”. The comedian told the journalist he was confronting him for discussing the caste of Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula on his show. Vemula was a PhD student at Hyderabad Central University. He committed suicide on January 17, 2016, after facing caste discrimination. Goswami, who is the editor-in-chief of Republic TV, did not respond to Kamra’s comments, and kept looking at his laptop and had his earphones plugged in.
Shortly after, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri advised all other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra.
“Offensive behaviour designed to provoke and create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable and endangers safety of air travellers,” he tweeted. “We are left with no option but to advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned.”
“Today, I met Arnab Goswami on a flight to Lucknow and politely asked him to have a conversation…I gave him a monologue about what I felt about his ‘journalism’,” Kamra said in a statement. “He refused to answer any questions, and called me mentally unstable.”
The comedian said he apologised to every crew member and the two pilots “for any inconvenience” he might have caused. “I don’t think I did anything wrong/criminal,” Kamra said, adding that he did not regret his action.
“To all you ‘Nationalists’,” Kamra tweeted after posting his statement. “A member of the anti-national club approached Arnab [Goswami] for a dialogue, he could educate me better on national interests and how I should keep nation first...instead of that he chose to watch some shitty movie and not engage. Arnab your mask is off...”
In another tweet, he thanked the airline for the six-month suspension. “Modiji might be suspending Air India forever,” he wrote.