Budget carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday announced that it was suspending comedian Kunal Kamra from travelling on any of its flights until further notice for heckling television presenter Arnab Goswami on a flight. The move came hours after national carrier Air India suspended Kamra indefinitely and private airline IndiGo banned him for six months.
“In view of the incident onboard @IndiGo6E, Air India wishes to inform that conduct of person concerned is unacceptable,” Air India tweeted. “With a view to discourage such behavior onboard flights, Mr Kunal Kamra is suspended from flying on any Air India flight until further notice.” The statement was made by Air India Spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar, according to the Hindustan Times
Kamra had on Tuesday posted a video which showed him heckling Goswami on a Mumbai-Lucknow IndiGo flight. In the video, 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 with his earphones plugged in.
“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 after suspending Kamra.
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.”
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. In another tweet, he thanked the airline for the six-month suspension. “Modiji might be suspending Air India forever,” he wrote.
On Wednesday morning, Kamra posted a sarcastic tweet hinting at a double standard in the treatment of the “right wing” and “liberals”.