Indian budget carrier GoAir on Wednesday became the fourth airline to suspend comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with it, a day after he heckled journalist Arnab Goswami on board an IndiGo airline flight from Mumbai to Lucknow. After IndiGo grounded Kamra for six months, Air India and SpiceJet followed suit.
In a statement released before GoAir suspended him, Kamra said the bans were not shocking. “At no point did I endanger the safety of any passenger on board, the only damage I caused was to the inflated ego to the ‘journalist Arnab Goswami,” he added.
Kamra said this was the first time he was involved in such an incident, and pointed out that he did not travel with the other airlines. “So why have they jumped the gun and banned me?” he asked. “I have travelled SpiceJet and Air India in the past. There have been no complaints against me ever, only selfies and love have been shared by the crew.”
On Tuesday evening, Kamra had posted a video in which he was seen heckling Goswami on a Mumbai-Lucknow IndiGo flight. 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, ignored Kamra’s comments.
After IndiGo banned the comedian, 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.”