After IndiGo and Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir ban Kunal Kamra from flying until 'further notice' for 'heckling' Arnab Goswami

FP Staff

Editor's Note: This article erroneously mentioned Jet Airways as one of the carriers that has banned Kunal Kamra. The airline is no longer operational. The article has been amended and tweeted again. We apologise for the oversight. €¬

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After IndiGo and Air India, now SpiceJet and GoAir have banned stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with them until further notice after Kamra's video questioning Arnab Goswami onboard a IndiGo flight went viral on Tuesday. In an official tweet, the airlines said, "SpiceJet has decided to suspend (Mr) Kunal Kamra from flying with the airline till further notice."

So far, IndiGo, Air India, GoAir and SpiceJet have banned Kamra from flying with them. While IndiGo has suspended him from flying for a period of six months, others have banned him "till further notice".

"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," the IndiGo airline said in a tweet while tagging Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

"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," it added.

Replying to IndiGo's tweet, Puri also condemned Kamra's behaviour and advised other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the stand-up comedian. He said,"offensive behaviour designed to provoke and create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable and endangers safety of air travellers".

Following the minister's remarks, Vistara said it will "review and follow due process in such cases".

Speaking to PTI, a Vistara spokesperson was quoted as saying, "Vistara stands firm with its zero-tolerance policy against any behaviour or act that compromises the safety, security and dignity of its customers and staff. We will review and follow due process in such cases".

Kamra allegedly heckled Goswami, the editor of Republic TV, on IndiGo's Mumbai-Lucknow (6E5317) flight on Tuesday.

His act, however, gained support from many Twitterati, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor who, referring to Goswami, said that "it was time someone gave him a taste of his own medicine".

In a video clip posted by Kamra on Twitter, the stand-up comedian can be heard demanding a reply from Goswami, asking him if he is a "coward or a journalist or a nationalist". However, Goswami does not reply to Kamra.

While Goswami can be seen sitting in the plane and watching something on his laptop with his earphones plugged in, Kamra is heard telling him, "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."

"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?" he can be heard saying in the video clip.

"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. But this is for Rohith's mother. And go...find time and read that 10-page suicide letter that Rohith 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," Kamra is heard as saying.

Later, Kamra in a statement explaining what happened onboard the IndiGo flight and said that he had apologised to all crew members, pilots, but expressed no remorse for what he said to Goswami. "I apologise to all passengers except one."

Vemula was a PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad. He killed himself in his hostel room on 17 January, 2016, which sparked widespread outrage. Opposition parties blamed groups affiliated to the BJP and the RSS for his suicide, and launched protests against the saffron party. The BJP, on its part, had accused the Opposition of deceiving and exploiting the sentiments of Vemula's mother for petty political gains.

With inputs from PTI

Also See: 'Banned by four airlines for exercising free speech'; Kunal Kamra questions flying restrictions by Air India, GoAir, SpiceJet over Arnab Goswami video

‘Coward is using influence to silence a critic’: Rahul Gandhi extends support to Kunal Kamra, slams airlines’ ban on comedian

Kunal Kamra-Arnab Goswami row: DGCA backs airlines which banned stand up comic, says action in 'complete consonance' with rules

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