Arnab Goswami has often faced accusations of turning prime time TV debate in India into noisy verbal fights. The Republic TV founder has also had to deal with allegations of not allowing his guests to speak if their views differed from the line adopted by Goswami.
However, Goswami was in for a rude shock this week as a Kashmiri guest appearing on his show decided to give him a run for his money.
Goswami was discussing the security threat posed to Amarnath devotees as a result of a shut down in Kashmir on the occasion of the death anniversary of the former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. The authorities on Monday had suspended the annual Amarnath yatra in the wake of a strike called by separatists to mark the third death anniversary of Burhan Wani.
Also joining the host of guests to discuss the development on Republic TV were two guests, Majid Hyderi and Babar Qadri. At one point, addressing his Kashrimi guest, Goswami said, “You are sounding like a mix of Asiya Andrabi and Hafeez Saeed today. Why don’t you admit it?”
Hyderi replied, “Why don’t you arrest Hafeez Saeed? Let you and Gaurav Arya go to Pakistan and arrest Hafeez Saeed. Who’s stopping you?”
This prompted Goswami to launch an all-out attack on his Kashmiri guests as he said, “Gaurav, did you see how he just took a pro-Hafiz Saeed line?” He didn’t stop here. He called Hyderi as a ‘closet terrorist’ while branding Qadri as an open supporter of Lashkar-e-Toiba.”
Little later in the programme, Goswami slammed Hyderi for openly threatening one of his panelists, Sushil Pandit. An enraged Goswami then dared his Kashmiri guests to come to Delhi so that he could interrogate them personally. Responding to his challenge, Hyderi said, “I will meet you at our own Red Fort since this was built by Mughals.”
An angry Goswami said, “What do you mean by ‘our own Red Fort.’ Shame on you. The Red Fort is not a Hindu-Muslim thing. You are communalising the Red Fort. I feel like throwing you out of my programme.”
“This Babar Qadri is an open supporter of Lashkar-e-Toiba. This Majid Hyderi is also their supporter,” Goswami added.
Goswami had also called Hyderi a ‘closet terrorist’ earlier in the show. “He’s a closet terrorist, this man. Majid Hyderi, he hates this country.”
At one point Goswami addressed Qadri as Inam-un-Nabi, prompting Qadri to say, “You are so disturbed today that you have forgotten the names of your guests.” Goswami accused Qadri of irritating him. Pat came a reply from the Kashmiri, “But you’ve been irritating the whole of India.” Qadri then went on to interrupt Goswami even more by accusing him of hurting Kashmiris. This had quite a bizarre effect on the Republic TV host, who stopped for a few seconds while holding his head in disbelief!