Stand up comedian Kunal Kamra has been barred by IndiGo airlines for six months. The domestic carrier took the step after the comedian roasted BJP Spokesperson “Journalist” Arnab Goswami on board their flight.
“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,” an official statement from the airlines said.
The airlines also advised its passengers “to refrain from indulging in personal slander whilst onboard, as this can potentially compromise the safety of fellow passengers.”
In response to the ban, Kunal Kamra took another jibe at the government. referring to the announcement of Air India sales, Kumar Kamra said: “Thank you Indigo a six month suspension is honestly very kind of you… Modiji might be suspending Air India forever.”
Reacting on the issue, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri termed Kamra’s behaviour offensive.
“Offensive behaviour designed to provoke and create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable and endangers the safety of air travellers.
“We are left with no option but to advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned,” Hardeep Puri said in a tweet.
After the aviation minister’s tweet, Air India also suspended Kunal Kamra from its flights until further notice. “#FlyAI: In view of the incident onboard @IndiGo6E, Air India wishes to inform that conduct of Person concerned is unacceptable.With a view to discourage such behavior onboard flts, Mr Kunal Kamra is suspended from flying on any Air India flt until further notice. @HardeepSPuri,” Air India’s official Twitter handle said.
In the viral video Kunal Kamra can be seen asking a series of questions while Goswami sits with his headphones on. The comedian made comments in the same style as Goswami as does each night.
I did this for my hero…
I did it for Rohit pic.twitter.com/aMSdiTanHo
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) January 28, 2020
Meanwhile activists, lawyer Saket Gokhale pointed out that Airlines can’t ban passengers as they wish. According to rules to ban an individual “an internal committee headed by a retired district or sessions judge to examine any such case. The committee must conduct a detailed investigation & decide whether the offense was Level 1, 2, or 3 and before reaching to any conclusion, the committee needs to give the individual 60 days to appeal.”
Prima facie, it seems like the airlines have taken this “decision” under pressure from the BJP government.
Views are of Nikhil Kukreja.