Republic TV erupted in celebrations on Monday after the Rajya Sabha voted in favour of abrogating Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir. Terming it a real integration of Jammu and Kashmir, the channel launched a popular hashtag #KashmirIntegrated as a jubilant Arnab Goswami reported live from outside the parliament. However, his debate show on the same topic in the evening was marred by a guest using the ‘idiots’ jibe for those who supported the government’s move to revoke Article 370.
Starting the show Goswami said, “Today, the injustice of 70 years has been reversed and today justice has been done. Today, in the hearts of every Indian, yours and mine, there’s an unbelievable sense of true pride and the fact that in our lifetime, before our very own eyes, the integration of Jammu and Kashmir has happened.”
Goswami went on to allege that only anti-nationals were unhappy, who benefited from the presence of Article 370. The debate took an ugly turn towards the end when a guest used the ‘idiots’ jibe to refer to those supporting the government’s move. The guest in question was one Sumit Chopra, who said, “There will be no Indians (inaudible), if these idiots continue to rule.”
This left Goswami seething as he asked, “Sumit Chopra, you call everyone idiots?…Is President an idiot?” The same question was posed by a visibly angry Smita Prakash, editor of news agency ANI.
Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday had brought in a Bill to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories while sharing an order from President Ram Nath Kovind declaring Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, null and void.
The move drew sharp criticism from several opposition parties, who accused the government of making a mockery of the Indian constitution. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had made a shock announcement to support the Bill, which has always featured in BJP’s manifesto. Also supporting the government in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP lacks a majority, were Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress and N Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party.