Industrialist Anand Mahindra and tennis legend Mahesh Bhupati on Thursday lashed out at Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV for irresponsible journalism over the imminent release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. Wing Commander Varthman is said to be released later today.
Soon after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told his parliament that his country had decided to release Wing Commander Abhinandan, Goswami’s channel had declared the development as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory. Its news flash had said, “TITANIC WIN FOR INDIA: Pakistan to release IAF’s Wing Commander Abhinandan tomorrow, crumbling under unprecedented pressure from India.”
This evoked angry reactions from social media users, who felt that the provocative post by Republic TV in a bid to support Modi may jeopardise the safety of the Indian Air Force officer.
An angry Mahindra wrote, “I rarely comment on media postures. But the prime objective now is to allow our soldier to come home safely. This is not the time to jeopardise that event with such calls for celebration… Arnab, please, we must exercise restraint…”
I rarely comment on media postures. But the prime objective now is to allow our soldier to come home safely. This is not the time to jeopardise that event with such calls for celebration… Arnab, please, we must exercise restraint… https://t.co/kXgX65XcQP
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) February 28, 2019
Mahindra wasn’t alone in his criticism for Goswami’s channel that he founded with the help of BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar in 2017. Tennis legend and 12-time Grand Slam winner, Bhupati, too expressed similar anger as he wrote, “Really?? Titanic? How about we just keep praying till he gets home .. instead of gloating while he is captive!!!”
Really?? Titanic? How about we just keep praying till he gets home .. instead of gloating while he is captive!!! https://t.co/vGeXfiz9qB
— Mahesh Bhupathi (@Maheshbhupathi) February 28, 2019
Goswami was seen gloating inside his studio as the Indian Air Force carried out air strikes inside Pakistan on 26 February calling it a huge victory of Modi’s decisive approach. However, a day later, when the news of Wing Commander Abhinandan’s capture and the downing of a MiG 21 came in, the mood inside his studio had turned grim.
The BJP, which Goswami’s channel is accused of supporting, is desperate to extract the much-needed electoral mileage from the tension at the border between India and Pakistan.
Goswami was left red-faced by a senior officer of the Indian Air Force on Thursday, when Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said that estimating the number of casualties in Balakot was premature. This came in sharp contrast to what Goswami and other TV anchors had claimed soon after the air strikes in Balakot.