Kunal Kamra at his residence in Dadar. (Express Photo by Janak Rathod)
Two days after Kunal Kamra was suspended by IndiGo and three other airlines for heckling television news anchor Arnab Goswami, the captain who piloted the flight issued a statement on Thursday, saying the stand-up comic's behaviour was not unruly.
In a letter written to the IndiGo management, according to news agency PTI, the captain asked why the airline did not consult him before banning the comedian. He also said he was disheartened to learn that the decision was taken solely on basis of social media posts.
Explaining the nature Kamra's offence, the captain said "While the stand-up comic's behaviour was unsavoury, it was not qualifying of a level 1 unruly passenger."
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"Pilots can attest to incidents which were similar and/or worse in nature that were not deemed unruly," he added.
When asked about the captain's statement, IndiGo said, "We have received the relevant statements and the internal committee has initiated the investigation regarding this incident."
On Tuesday, Kamra posted a video on his social media handle where he is heard mocking Goswami on an IndiGo flight. Kamra, in a statement, said he “politely asked” Goswami to have a conversation but later delivered “a monologue about what I felt about his journalism”. Kamra also said he called out Goswami for his “hero” Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student from Hyderabad University who had committed suicide citing discriminatory behaviour by authorities. Goswami chose not to respond to Kamra.
Kamra claimed he returned to his seat immediately after the air hostess requested him, and caused no disturbance. However, he was suspended by IndiGo from flying for six months. Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir followed suit after an advisory by Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri. Calling Kamra's behavior ”offensive, Puri said the government would advise airlines to impose restrictions on him.