After receiving temporary bans from four airlines for heckling television news anchor Arnab Goswami on a IndiGo flight, stand-up comic Kunal Kamra Wednesday said it was “not shocking” that the airlines took action against him for exercising his “right to speech”.
On Tuesday, Kamra shared a video which showed him accosting Goswami onboard an IndiGo flight. Hours later, IndiGo and Air India suspended him for his “unacceptable behaviour” based on Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s advisory. Go Air and SpiceJet followed suit and suspended Kamra until further notice on Wednesday.
In a statement shared on his social media handle, Kamra said, “It’s not shocking at all to me that for exercising my right to speech, which falls under Article 19 of our constitution, 3 airlines have given me a temporary ban from flying. Fact of the matter is that at no point was I disruptive and at no point did I not follow the orders of the cabin crew or the captain.”
“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 stated.
Kamra also highlighted that he has travelled with SpiceJet and Air India in the past but there was no “pattern of him being unruly” with the crew of either of the carriers.
“This was the first time something like this has happened, so why have they jumped the gun and banned me? I’ve travelled SpiceJet and Air India in the past. There have been no complaints against me ever, only selfies and love has been shared by the crew,” he tweeted.
Kamra also questioned the suspension saying, as per his “limited knowledge” no formal complaint was made by the crew, Goswami or anyone else onboard the flight.
“Whenever there was an intervention by any member of the crew I complied. If expressing myself to an important public figure, who himself points a camera day in and day out, catching people off guard is a crime, then Both of us are criminals,” he wrote.
In the video shared on Tuesday, Kamra is heard mocking Goswami about his brand of journalism. He, however, had said he complied with the flight crew and also apologised to the passengers. “The moment the stewardess asked me to move, I went back to my seat in 20 seconds. I apologised to each crew member personally and to both the pilots, by staying back till the end, for any inconvenience that I might have caused during the flight,” he said.