The Mumbai Police on Wednesday arrested Arnab Goswami from his residence in an abetment to suicide case. However, no sooner did the video of Goswami’s arrest go viral, the BJP moved in with lightning speed to extend its support to the controversial TV anchor. Among those condemning Goswami’s arrest included Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar among others. One senior BJP leader even appeared Alibag, where Goswami was produced before a court, to block the police convoy.
Reacting to Goswami’s arrest, Shah tweeted, “Congress and its allies have shamed democracy once again. Blatant misuse of state power against Republic TV & 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.”
Adityanath, whose government has often faced criticism for its crackdown against journalists in Uttar Pradesh, too invoked the issue of press freedom as he slammed the Maharashtra government for Goswami’s arrest. His tweets in Hindi read, “The arrest of senior journalist Shri Arnab Goswami by the Congress party is an attack on the freedom of expression. The Congress, which is responsible for imposing emergency, is once again trying to throttle the democracy.
“This act of the Congress-backed Maharashtra government is a scandalous attempt to stop the fourth pillar of democracy, the media, from acting independently.”
Irani tweeted, “Those in the free press who don’t stand up today in support of Arnab, you are now tactically in support of fascism. You may not like him, you may not approve of him,you may despise his very existence but if you stay silent you support suppression. Who speaks if you are next?”
Javadekar tweeted, “We condemn the #Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi, for its fascist and emergency mindset, which is on display in #Maharashtra @republic.”
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, according to news agency PTI, said she was actually very shocked with the “selective outrage” of the BJP of the sections of the government. She asked, “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?”
Goswami has been arrested in a case related to abetment to the suicide of a designer, who was employed by Republic TV in the past. The Maharashtra government had decided to launch a CID probe in the abetment to suicide case against the Republic TV founder. This was confirmed by Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. His announcement on a CID probe came days after his cabinet colleague Satej (Bunty) D.Patil promised that justice will prevail in the 2018 case against Goswami for alleged role in the abetment to suicide case.