In what could be described an egregious display of brute force, Mumbai Police not only barged into the house of Republic TV Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami but also roughed him up along with the other family members and subsequently arrested him on November 4. While Mumbai police have been drawing extreme condemnation for its conduct, a lot of support has been pouring in for Arnab Goswami from all quarters.
After several Union Ministers, including HM Amit Shah and prominent personalities, took to Twitter to express their solidarity with Arnab Goswami, many media houses in Assam have also joined hands to display unwavering support for the senior journalist and denounce the witch-hunt against media.
On Thursday, the OTV newsroom in Bhubaneswar joined Prag News and News Live in Assam, and the Republic TV and Republic Bharat newsrooms in Mumbai and Delhi respectively to express solidarity after the arrest of India largest news network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.
#IndiaWithArnab | In a stirring display of unity, the newsrooms of News Live, Prag News and OTV News had joined their peers at Republic TV and Republic Bharat and stood in solidarity with #ArnabGoswami; sign the petition to raise your voice at https://t.co/Y9zlarecVl pic.twitter.com/vDAEh0cu2c— Republic (@republic) November 6, 2020
The journalists of these news channels who came together on the primetime debate, usually hosted on Republic TV by Arnab Goswami, maintained that the manner in which such a senior journalist was assaulted, dragged and arrested is reminiscent of the British rule.
#IndiaWithArnab | We are with Arnab Goswami and we oppose any atrocities on journalists. Journalists’ job is to ask questions: @otvnews, Odisha— Republic (@republic) November 5, 2020
Tune in to watch and share your views using the hashtag – https://t.co/rGQJsiKgt2 pic.twitter.com/ifPRzp735b
OTV journalist Rajashree stated that it was the job of a journalist to demand accountability from the government. Mentioning that he could have been summoned by issuing notice, she condemned the behaviour of the Mumbai police.
Rajashree remarked, “The manner of Arnab’s arrest is reminiscent of British rule. It is clear that this is a dictatorship. All real journalists ask questions to the system and demand accountability from the government. Is this the outcome of the way in which Republic TV cover issues whether it is the Palghar case, Sushant murder mystery or the demolition of Kangana’s house? If you (police) wanted to reopen a two-year-old case, you could have given a message. You (police) could have summoned him by issuing notice. I don’t even have words to describe the way in which you (police) barged into a senior journalist’s house and arrested him. I strongly condemn this kind of behaviour.”
Similarly another OTV journalist Radhamadhab Mishra condemned the witch-hunt on media and called the shameful incident a blotch on India’s democracy. Dubbing the police’s manhandling of Arnab as “police hooliganism”, he appealed to the courts of the country to take cognizance on the assault on the fourth pillar of democracy.
Closed 2018 case against Arnab Goswami re-opened on the directions of Maha HM
After Mumbai police picked up senior journalist Arnab Goswami from his house at around 6:30 in the morning on November 4, in a closed, 2018 abetment to suicide case, reports had emerged that the case has been reopened by Alibaug police on the directions of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
Republic TV had clarified that the charges were false and they had made 90% of the payments due to the interior designer’s firm and the remaining amount was to be paid after the completion of the work which was never done.
Maharashtra HM launched ‘Operation Arnab’
Now, reports have emerged that the Maharashtra government had carefully plotted a plan – “Operation Arnab” to carry out a witch-hunt against Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami. According to a report, the Maharashtra Home Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh formed a high-level 40-member team led by Konkan range Inspector General Sanjay Mohite to arrest Arnab Goswami in the 2018 suicide abetment case.
The Maharashtra Home department devised a plan “Operation Arnab” to nab Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami in a 2018 suicide case. A team of police began the operation days after Raigad police allegedly obtained permission to probe into the alleged suicide case of architect Anvay Naik. To arrest Arnab, the Maharashtra government assembled a team of 40 personnel, who were mostly drawn from Mumbai and Raigad police.
Mumbai police move sessions court challenging order by Magistrate
The Mumbai police, working on the orders of the Maharashtra government, is in no mood to call it quits. After the Alibaug court, in a marathon hearing, refuse to grant Mumbai police the custody of the senior journalist, the Raigad police moved the Sessions court Thursday, challenging the order of a lower court which remanded Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami to judicial custody instead of police custody.
Earlier, the Alibaug court rejected the plea of Mumbai police plea seeking 14 days of police custody of Arnab Goswami, who was arrested on November 4. After a hearing that went into the midnight, the Alibaug Court granted 14 days of judicial custody for the Republic TV editor-in-chief, which meant that the Mumbai police would not interrogate him in its custody.
Arnab Goswami hounded by Maha Govt and Mumbai police
Arnab Goswami has come into the radar of the Maha Government ever since his channel pursued the Palghar lynching case and asked some uncomfortable questions to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state. No add salt to the injuries, Republic TV went after the Sushant Singh Rajput’s murder case, which probably also hit the wrong nerve of the state government led by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray which unleashed Mumbai police on the media network.
Thereafter, Mumbai police falsely implicated Republic TV in the TRP scam on the basis of an FIR naming India Today. The police had also reportedly coerced witnesses into naming Republic TV in the TRP scam. Mumbai police had also sought details of all financial transactions of the channel ever since its inception. Now, the Mumbai police has opened another front against Arnab Goswami, which is the 2018 suicide case which was closed back then.
Meanwhile, the Bombay high court will hear on Friday a petition by Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami seeking interim bail in the 2018 abetment of suicide case in which he was arrested on Wednesday, setting off a storm with many of his supporters comparing the development with the Emergency.