When stand up comic Kunal Kamra posted a 114 second video of his heckling Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami on an Indigo Mumbai-Lucknow flight, he would have known that he would pay the price for taking on one of the current regime's staunchest defenders.
Hours after the video appeared on the Internet, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted a firman that all Indian airlines needed to ban Kamra from further flights.
Indigo, Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir meekly complied with the minister's edict and have suspended Kamra from flying until further notice.
In December, Pragya Thakur, the BJP MP from Bhopal, had reportedly thrown a tantrum on a Spice Jet flight after the cabin crew told her a wheelchair passenger could not occupy 1A-1B-1C seats and delayed takeoff, but Minister Puri initiated no such penalty against the woman who defends Nathuram Godse.
Given the alacrity with which private airlines jostled to obey Puri, Uttam Ghosh wonders if the comic will also be banned from the concrete aeroplane that generations of Mumbai kids have played in for decades in the city, the price to pay for freedom of speech -- a strict no fly zone under the Modi Sarkar.