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‘Mentally unstable’ Kunal Kamra abuses and heckles Arnab Goswami on a flight to Lucknow: Here is what actually happened

Arnab is said to have deboarded and left the airport immediately while Kunal kept yelling inanities and abuses. The passenger who spoke to OpIndia said, "If this was the USA, Kunal Kamra would be behind bars on charges of terrorism".

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

In what appears to be a massive security breach, ‘mentally unstable’ ‘comedian’ Kunal Kamra abused and heckled senior journalist Arnab Goswami on a flight from Mumbai to Lucknow. Kunal Kamra then took to Twitter to upload a partial video where he is seen heckling Arnab Goswami, who is trying to ignore Kamra behaving like a lunatic.

He also tweeted that he gave Arnab Goswami a ‘monologue’ about his journalism.

He ended the tweet with ‘F*ck Arnab’ and wrote that Arnab refused to answer him and called him mentally unstable.

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In the video uploaded by Kamra he can be heard heckling Arnab and asking him about how he could discuss Rohit Vemula’s caste. He also tells Arnab that he should be answering him since he supports Rahul Gandhi and is a part of the ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’. The video ends with Kunal Kamra calling Arnab Goswami a ‘Nationalist’ as if trying to imply that being one is akin to abuse.

While Kamra is trying to paint this as some sort of crusade in favour of ‘journalism’ and a tribute to his hero Rohit Vemula (a student who tragically committed suicide and a trail of vultures fed off him for mileage), the truth is far from it.

After Kunal Kamra’s video was uploaded, a passenger who was also in the Indigo flight 6E-5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow got in touch with OpIndia. He told us that he wanted to stay anonymous since the conduct of Kunal Kamra had scared him and he didn’t want to meet the same fate of being abused by a mentally unstable man.

Read: Rohith’s suicide note: What the leftists don’t want to read

Speaking to OpIndia, the co-passenger said that Arnab Goswami was sitting on seat 1-B and was on a call. This happened right before the flight started taxying and getting ready for take-off.

While the aircraft was taxying, Kunal Kamra walked up to Arnab Goswami. While the air hostesses told him to take his seat, he started shouting and saying that he will not take his seat before he talks to “this man”, meaning Arnab Goswami. While standing there, Kumal Kamra started abusing and even threatening Arnab Goswami. He used abusive words like ‘b*stard’ and terms that are too explicit to mention. During his tirade, Kunal Kamra also told Arnab Goswami that he had ruined his life and because of him, he had to seek mental help for a month.

Saying that he was a part of the Tukde Tukde Gang, the abuses against Arnab Goswami did not stop till the air hostesses had to escort Kamra back to his seat so the flight, which was already delayed due to Kamra’s theatrics could take off. After take-off, the air hostess asked Arnab if he knew who the man abusing him was, and Arnab is reported to have responded in the negative, saying that he seems to be a ‘mentally disturbed’ individual.

After the flight took off, Kunal Kamra resurfaced only to abuse Arnab Goswami yet again. At this point of time, Arnab was watching a movie on his laptop and summarily ignored the rants by Kunal Kamra. Kunal had continued to abuse Arnab at this point of time, calling him names. Frustrated at not receiving a response from Arnab, he got aggressive and started shoving his hand at him at which point, our source from the flight said that Arnab merely politely told him to remove his hand from his personal space.

Read: Propagandist Kunal Kamra heckles Arnab Goswami on a flight, here is how he can be banned from flying

Seeing Kunal Kamra get increasingly abusive and aggressive, almost trying to hit Arnab Goswami, the flight crew intervened and told him to take his seat. The pilot of the flight even had to make an announcement that inside the aircraft, seats had to be taken and this behaviour was not allowed.

Arnab is said to have deboarded and left the airport immediately while Kunal kept yelling inanities and abuses. The passenger who spoke to OpIndia said, “If this was the USA, Kunal Kamra would be behind bars on charges of terrorism”.

While this only goes to show that Kunal Kamra is a mentally unstable individual, it also raises questions on the security arrangement of Indigo airlines. It is rather astonishing that a mentally unstable person could simply heckle a respected and senior journalist is a security breach that Indigo must answer for. At this point in time, Indigo has not issued any statement.

Interestingly, Kunal Kamra has himself admitted that he pretended to use to Lavatory while heckling and abusing Arnab thereby proving that he was doing this in a concerted manner. The DGCA had in 2017 said that they would be preparing a no-fly list to tackle unruly passengers.

The statement back then said:

“The revised CAR deals with unruly behaviour of passenger onboard aircrafts. Unruly behaviour of passengers at airport premises will be dealt with by relevant security agencies under applicable penal provisions. The revised CAR will be applicable for all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both domestic and international carriage of passengers. The CAR would also be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963. 

Also speaking on the occasion the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri Jayant Sinha said that the new rules have been promulgated after a lot of deliberation and consultation with all stakeholders. The focus has been on ensuring onboard safety while maintaining an element of balance and safeguarding the interest of passengers, cabin crew and the airlines. 

The revised CAR defines three categories of unruly behaviour – Level 1 refers to behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment up to 3 months; Level 2 indicates physical unruliness and can lead to the passenger being debarred from flying for up to 6 months and Level 3 indicates life-threatening behaviour where the debarment would be for a minimum of 2 years. 

The complaint of unruly behaviour would need to be filed by the pilot-in-command. These complaints will be probed by an internal committee to be set up by the airline. The internal committee will have retired District & Sessions Judge as Chairman and representatives from a different scheduled airline, passengers’ association/consumer association/retired officer of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum as Members. As per the CAR provisions, the internal committee will have to decide the matter within 30 days, and also specify the duration of ban on the unruly passenger. During the period of pendency of the enquiry, the concerned airline may impose a ban on the said passenger. For every subsequent offence, the ban will be twice the period of the previous ban”. 

It remains to be seen that as per the 2017 CAR rules, the pilot of the Indigo flight will file a complaint about Kunal Kamra disrupting the flight. In September 2017, the government of India through the Ministry of Civil Aviation unveiled rules to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour by passengers which could put them on No Fly List. As per the rule, if the pilot-in-command of the said Indigo flight files a complaint, he could fall under level 1 of unruly behaviour which could bar him for 3 months. Moreover, as per DGCA orders, airlines are required to report unruly behaviour by passengers within 12 hours.

Further, per the video that Kamra himself uploaded, Arnab seems to have displayed remarkable calm at the face of Kamra behaving like a lunatic and abusing him. It is, in fact, telling, that Kamra only videotaped a small part of his “monologue” against Arnab and was careful to not mouth off the abuses he was otherwise hurling at Arnab.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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