Thursday, January 30, 2020

As 4 Airlines Ground Comedian Kunal Kamra, Twitter Flags "Hypocrisy"

New Delhi: Moments after comedian Kunal Kamra was banned by IndiGo Airlines for heckling a TV channel editor on one of its flights on Tuesday, the government announced that it was urging other airlines to do the same. On cue, Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir declared they had banned Mr Kamra.

The airline ban triggered criticism from social media users who recalled how a Republic TV reporter had once similarly heckled opposition's Tejashwi Yadav, of Bihar's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), on board a flight.

"So @republic did the same thing what @kunalkamra88 did with Arnab. But only punishment to Kunal. #hypocrisy #ArnabGoswami #kunalkamra," wrote a Twitter user Prajakat Kamat.
Others pointed out how BJP MP Pragya Thakur, who faces charges in an ongoing terror case, had held up a flight last month and argued with crew and passengers after refusing to vacate a seat next to the emergency exit despite being on a wheelchair as required under aviation rules.

Mr Kamra in a statement on Twitter said, "It's not shocking at all to me that for exercising my right to speech, which falls under Article 19 of our constitution, three 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 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."

"To my limited knowledge no formal complaint has been made by the crew or Arnab or anyone else taking 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 added.
29/01/20 Divyanshu Dutta Roy/NDTV
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