Arnab Goswami has been actively pushing the government’s narrative on Jammu and Kashmir ever since Home Minister Amit Shah announced the abrogation of Article 370 in parliament last week. However, the Republic TV founder was left embarrassed after a guest accused him of poor research before walking out of Goswami’s show on LIVE TV.
Goswami was debating the media reports that said that the situation in Kashmir had worsened since the government ordered a complete shutdown in the valley. Addressing journalist-turned-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Goswami asked, “Mr Siddiqui, you don’t dine with the enemy. Geelani was an enemy. All you people used to go, knock on his doors and say Geelani ji ek cup chai pilayiye (Mr Geelani, please give us a cup of tea). And he snubbed you. Geelani was in league with the Pakistanis and, therefore, somewhere people like you and Sitaram Yechury must also think ‘did we have a wrong approach?’ We don’t talk to people who are against nationalism.”
Siddiqui, who was listening to Goswami patiently, replied informing the Republic TV anchor that he had not ‘done his research properly.’ Siddiqui said, “For a long time, I’ve been saying that these leaders in Kashmir including the Hurriyat, the National Conference, the PDP have been taking the people of Kashmir for a ride. For a long time, I’ve also said that we needed a new approach on Kashmir. It’s not new. I’ve been opposing this since 1990.”
Siddiqui heaped more embarrassment on Goswami accusing him of barking up the wrong tree adding that the Republic TV founder ought to have chosen a different person for his attack.
A visibly embarrassed Goswami asked, “I’m sorry, but weren’t you a part of many delegations that went and met Geelani (separatist Kashmiri leader)?” Siddiqui replied emphatically, “Never, never, never. I’ve never met Geelani. I’ve always opposed Geelani.”
Realising that he has committed a huge gaffe, Goswami asked, “I will check this. I am happy if you didn’t (meet separatist leaders of Kashmir), but did you at any point of time describe separatists as stakeholders?”
“Never, never, never, never,” was how Siddiqui replied, adding more embarrassment on Goswami. To hide his embarrassment, Goswami asked Siddiqui to reply on behalf of the pro-separatists ‘lobby.’ By then, Siddiqui had decided to call it quits as he walked out of the show.
As the Republic TV guests left the show, Goswami made a parting shot, “Walking away is one thing Shahid Siddiqui because you can’t take my questions.”