BJP calls it ‘attack on press freedom’, Cong dubs criticism ‘selective outrage’
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI Nov 4: Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami was on Wednesday arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 53-year-old interior designer in 2018, a police official said.
The official said a team of Alibaug police picked up Goswami from his Lower Parel house in the morning. Goswami, who was seen being pushed into the police van, claimed he was assaulted by police at his home, before being taken away.
“Alibaug police arrested Goswami under sections 306 (abetment of suicide), and 34 (acts done by persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
This (arrest) pertains to the 2018 case of a man and his mother committing suicide. We have evidence (against Goswami),” the police official said.
Meanwhile, the BJP and the Congress engaged in a verbal duel on Wednesday over Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami’s arrest in Mumbai, with the saffron party saying it was
an “attack on press freedom” which was reminiscent of the Emergency, and the opposition party slamming the criticism as “selective outrage”.
Reacting to the development, the Editors Guild of India condemned the “sudden arrest” and called upon Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to ensure that the 47-year-old journalist is treated fairly and state power is not used against critical reporting by the media.
The arrest also triggered a political slugfest between the BJP and the Congress. BJP president J P Nadda and senior Union ministers slammed Goswami’s arrest by the Mumbai police, with Home Minister Amit Shah describing it as a “blatant misuse of state power” which reminds of the Emergency.
Reacting to Goswami’s arrest, Shah said Congress and its allies have shamed democracy once again.
“Blatant misuse of state power against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami is an attack on individual freedom and the 4th pillar of democracy. It reminds us of the Emergency. This attack on free press must be and will be opposed,” he tweeted.
Hitting out at the BJP over its criticism of Goswami’s arrest, the Congress said its “selective outrage” on press freedom is “shameful” and the law will take its own course in the case against the Republic TV editor-in-chief.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said she was “actually very shocked with the selective outrage” of the BJP and of the sections of the government.
“Why are they silent when Prashant Kanojia is jailed for a number of months just because he exposed a scam where children were being served salt and chapati in Mirzapur?” the spokesperson asked, referring to the journalist who was arrested by the UP Police.
Addressing a media briefing, she raised several other questions. “Why is the BJP selectively silent when sedition charges are slapped against journalists and when a case has been filed against (Scroll) journalist Supriya Sharma because she exposed the pathetic state of affairs in a village in Varanasi?” she asked.
“And when a reporter who exposed the PPE kit scam in Uttar Pradesh is jailed and faces serious sedition charges instead of action been taken against those responsible for the scam,” she added.
“So this selective outrage is extremely unwarranted, is shameful and they (the BJP) should be ashamed of saying anything,” Shrinate told reporters.
She also hit out at Goswami, saying she herself had been a journalist for almost two decades and alleged that he had brought complete “disgrace and shame” to journalism.
The BJP should be the last one to be talking about freedom of the press, she said, and accused the saffron party of controlling the media through advertisements and through “intimidation and fear”.
Many top BJP ministers slammed the Maharashtra government over Goswami’s arrest and also hit out at the Congress.
The Congress is part of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra with NCP as the other partner. (PTI)