Following Air India’s flying ban, comedian Kunal Kamra now banned indefinitely on SpiceJet and GoAir flights

Following Air India’s flying ban, comedian Kunal Kamra now banned indefinitely on SpiceJet and GoAir flights

Comedian Kunal Kamra was banned from IndiGo flights for six months after he heckled controversial journalist and the Editor of the Republic TV network, Arnab Goswami. In a video posted by Kamra on Twitter, he is seen asking questions of Arnab Goswami, who appears to be ignoring them. The tweet’s caption read - “I did this for my hero...I did it for Rohit” 

Since this video went viral, IndiGo decided to ban the comedian on its flights for a period of six months. This was followed by a tweet by the Union Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, asking other airlines to follow IndiGo’s example. 

It is said that several airlines also received verbal directives from the government on the matter. Subsequently, the state-owned airline, Air India decided to ban the comedian from its flights until further notice. 

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Acting on the directives of the Civil Aviation Ministry, airlines like SpiceJet and GoAir issued a flying ban on Kamra yesterday. Airlines like Air Asia and Vistara have specified that they will wait for written directives from the government before taking any action on the individual.

A quick look at the rule book suggests that unruly behaviour or verbal harassment in-flight can land you a 3-month ban from the airline. A 6-month ban only applies to physically abusive behaviour, something that Kamra is not accused of. Despite this, IndiGo has banned the comedian for six months, while Air India, GoAir, and SpiceJet have banned him indefinitely. 

Speaking to the BBC, Kamra was quoted as saying “It's not shocking at all to me that for exercising my right to speech, three airlines have given me a temporary ban,” adding that the only damage done was to Goswami’s “inflated ego”. 

This has drawn comparisons with a similar incident involving BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur wherein a video showed the leader engaging in a verbal altercation with a fellow passenger over seat allocation. This incident which took place on a SpiceJet flight reportedly delayed its departure by 30 minutes.

“In that case, it was a seat allocation issue between the MP and the airline and was later dealt with. This case, however, is totally different because one person has heckled another passenger inside the aircraft”, the Civil Aviation Minister said. 

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