Is it justifiable to enforce a flight ban on a comedian who heckles a popular news presenter on a flight? Especially when reporters from the presenter’s channel have done the same to others?
That is the burning question currently being debated on social media, after four Indian airlines banned Kunal Kamra for his “altercation” with Arnab Goswami.
Mr Goswami, who runs the Republic news network, is a popular name in India, but is seen as a polarising figure. He frequently berates his panellists, attacks opposition members and government critics, and is also known to pass judgement on news issues – he has called people names like “traitor” and even advocated going to war with Pakistan.
The encounter occurred aboard a recent IndiGo airlines flight from Mumbai to Lucknow.
Kamra says he met Mr Goswami aboard the plane and “politely asked him to have a conversation”, but that the journalist had “pretended to be on a phone call”.
After repeatedly trying to ask him questions on journalism, Kamra took the video of him berating Mr Goswami using some of his own catchphrases like “the nation wants to know!” He also repeatedly asks “if Arnab is a coward or a nationalist”.
The video quickly went viral – with some quipping that it was the only time they had ever seen Mr Goswami silent. Wearing sunglasses and earphones, he steadfastly ignores Kamra for the entire duration of the video.