Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra has on Saturday sent a legal notice to IndiGo after the airline banned him from travelling with it for six months, for heckling Republic Editor Arnab Goswami aboard on Tuesday.
Kamra is also seeking a compensation of Rs 25 lakh on account of the “mental pain and agony” he suffered as well as the losses he has incurred due to cancellation of his scheduled stand-up comedy shows.
Kamra was suspended from travelling with the airlines for six months. IndiGo took to Twitter to write, "In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr. Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour."
"Hereby, we wish to advise our passengers to refrain from indulging in personal slander whilst onboard, as this can potentially compromise the safety of fellow passengers," the company added.
After IndiGo banned Kamra, aviation minister Hardeep Puri asked other airlines to follow. "Offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable & endangers safety of air travellers. We are left with no option but to advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned," he tweeted.
However, the pilot-in-command of the IndiGo flight Rohit Mateti told airline's management that he was "disheartened" to learn the carrier took action against the comedian without consulting him and solely on the basis of social media posts.
"As captain of 6E5317 Mumbai-Lucknow flight on January 28, I do not find...events reportable in any way. Mr. Kamra's behaviour, while unsavoury, was not qualifying of a level 1 unruly passenger. Indeed, we pilots can all attest to incidents similar and/or worse in nature that were not deemed unruly," the captain said in a letter.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kamra shared a video of himself confronting Arnab. In the video Goswami can be seen with earphones plugged in, trying not to hear Kamra's monologue.
"Arnab, are you a coward or are you a journalist...or a nationalist? Who are you Arnab?" he asked Goswami.
"Go find time to read that 10-page suicide letter that Rohith wrote. So that you have some emotion or some heart ...or you just become human. Do that. Do that in your free time," he said. "I did this for my hero...I did it for Rohit," Kunal captioned the video.