Protests have erupted in many parts of the country after Maharashtra police barged in the house of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami to arrest him in a 2018 case that was closed by the court. Decorated war veteran Major General GD Bakshi extended support for Arnab Goswami while holding a protest with veterans at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
#IndiaWithArnab | We used to think this is a right-wing party; the Shiv Sena, that they used to speak for us; Today they have attacked an officer’s son; earlier they had attacked a woman; Who are they to put a leash on press?: Major General @GeneralBakshihttps://t.co/rGQJsiKgt2 pic.twitter.com/aWvsPVnes3— Republic (@republic) November 4, 2020
Speaking to media Major General Bakshi (R) said, “Arnab, you are the son of a Colonel. You are the son of lion. You fight, all the veterans are with you”. He said that he would not let go in vain the principles that he and many other soldiers fought for. “You can not snatch away our freedom so easliy”, he said.
“They are trying to show that they are above the law. No one, my boy, is above the law. I wore the uniform for 4 years to abide by and safeguard the law laid down by the government. I cannot behave as per my whims. I cannot misuse my uniform”, Major General Bakshi (R) lashed out at the Maharashtra police.
We have fought for this freedom: Major General Bakshi (R)
Coming down heavily on the Thackeray government in Maharashtra, Major General Bakshi (R) said, “They, Sir, want to stop freedom of the press. They don’t want to be criticised. You, Sir, are not above critcism (he said referring to Maharashtra government)”. He said that if the government wants vote from people then it would have to tolerate criticism. “Ye azadi hum ne lad k li hai. Ye tumhari khairat nhi hai” (We have fought for this freedom. This is not your gift to us.), said the angry war veteran.
Questioning the manner in which Arnab Goswami wa dragged by the Mumbai police out of his house Major General Bakshi (R) said, “You need 70 men armed with AK-47 to arrest one journalist who has a pen in his pocket? First pull down the house of Dawood Ibrahim and then talk”. He said that the state government is trying to crush the democracy. He said that Arnab was his friend but he was there for something bigger than their friendship and that is the fundamental principles of a democracy.
“Who are you to chain the press like a dog?”
“This is not China of Xi Xinping. Don’t try to make it Imran Khan’s Pakistan either where people are killed and journalists disappear if they criticise the Army”, said Major General Bakshi (R) taking on the Maharashtra government. He termed the situation in Maharashtra “worse than emergency”. He caled out the Thackeray government for demolishing the house of actress Kangana Ranaut and not daring to touch the house of Dawood Ibrahim. “Who are you to chain the press like a dog?”, Major General Bakshi questioned.
The battle between Republic TV and Maharashtra government has taken an ugly turn with the state government misusing state machinery in the worst possible manner to muzzle free speech.