Journalist and television news anchor Arnab Goswami was in for a rude shock when comedian Kunal Kamra accosted him on a flight on Tuesday. Kamra, who has filmed the entire incident and posted the same on social media, has called Goswami out for his journalism, calling him a ‘coward’ among other things.
Goswami, who can be seen glued to his laptop in the video, did not respond to Kamra’s questions and comments.
“Today, I met Arnab Goswami on a flight to Lucknow and politely asked him to have a conversation…I gave him a monologue about what I felt about his “journalism." He refused to answer any questions, and called me mentally unstable," Kamra has said in a statement that he put out on micro-blogging site Twitter.
“I did exactly what Republic TV journalists do to people in their private/public spaces and I don’t regret it. I’m not sorry for it. I don’t think I did anything wrong/criminal. Don’t let this be about my bravado. I do apologise to every passenger except one," said Kamra adding that the act was for late dalit scholar Rohith Vermula whose suicide in 2015 had sparked protests across the country.
Users on Twitter have had differing opinions on the incident, some terming it as an act of courage and others, a source of harassment for Goswami. Some have even demanded Kamra be put on a no-fly list besides asking IndiGo, the airline that the two were on, for an explanation and apology.
“The truth is that it was time someone gave him a taste of his own medicine. These are the words he regularly uses to berate his innocent victims, except he does so in a hectoring, bullying manner and at higher volume and pitch than Kunal Kamra does in this video," politician and member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor tweeted.
“Very unfortunate from Kunal Kamra. Arnab Goswami is an eminent journalist and news moderator who redefined the Indian News Media. I disagree and shout on him on 100 issues. But disrespecting and attacking him when he is on flight is ethically wrong," another user said.
Goswami is not the only member of the media to have been at the receiving end off late. Senior television journalist Deepak Chaurasia and his cameraman were attacked by people at Shaheen Bagh where protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), have been going on for almost a month now, when they were reporting from spot.
Later in the day, IndiGo did announce Kamra’s suspension, calling his conduct on-board unacceptable.
Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri also tweeted on the same.