Being Banned for Exercising Right to Free Speech: Kunal Kamra

Kamra has been banned from flying four airlines.

2 min read
Comedian Kunal Kamra has been banned from flying by four airlines.

After being suspended by IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India, comedian Kunal Kamra issued a statement saying it was “not shocking at all” that he was being banned from these airlines for “exercising my right to free speech”.

“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,” he wrote. The comedian claimed that he was never disruptive on the flight and complied with the cabin crew.

“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.

Kamra also questioned why Air India and SpiceJet had “jumped the gun” and banned him despite the fact the incident didn’t occur on either airline.

Following a confrontation with Arnab Goswami, which went viral on social media, IndiGo suspended Kamra for six months. This was followed by Air India which barred him “until further notice” to “discourage such behaviour”, as well as SpiceJet and Go Air which decided to suspend him from flying with the airline till further notice on 29 January.

IndiGo, in its tweet, had termed Kamra's conduct as 'unacceptable behaviour' and urged passengers “to refrain from indulging in personal slander whilst onboard”. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has asked other airlines to follow suit.

Kamra, on Tuesday 28 January, posted a video on Twitter of him speaking to Goswami in a flight. In the video, he can be seen asking the journalist a number of questions. He goes on to ask him if he’s a journalist or a “coward”. He says that Arnab had called him mentally unstable when he first approached him.

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