Grabbing headlines for his sudden resignation from Editors Guild, TV news anchor Arnab Goswami has now landed in a soup on Twitter after a video of him allegedly inciting “communal discrimination” in lieu of Palghar lynching, spread like wild fire on the micro-blogging site. The mob lynching incident took place on April 17 when three men near Palghar were beaten to death on suspect of being thieves. Also Read - Lockdown in Delhi: Read Latest Update on Delhi Metro Services After Lockdown Extension
In a video currently going viral across social media platforms, Arnab can be seen heatedly addressing the issue on his Prime Time show while accusing other media channels of favouring COVID-19 updates over the brutal killings. “Saints have been murdered in a country like India where 80% of the citizens are Hindus… 80% of the citizens follow Sanatan religion. Being a Hindu and wearing saffron has turned into a sin. I ask and the nation wants to know, if a Muslim Molvi would have been murdered in this manner, would a similar silence follow? Would Italy’s Sonia Gandhi remain silent then?” Arnab asked furiously during his anchoring of the news segment. Also Read - Covaxin Effective Against Coronavirus Strains Found in India, UK: Bharat Biotech
The repeated references to the president of the Indian National Congress as “Rome se ayi (coming from Rome)” and “Italy-wali (belonging to Italy)” along with misrepresentation of facts and citing distorted statements of Rahul Gandhi irked the party activists. As per the National Herald, Congress activists protested across the state and lodged complaints against the television anchor in 12 districts and zonal headquarters, including Raipur.
Interestingly, Rahul Gandhi had recently extended support to the Modi government in his press-briefing on April 16, for aggressive testing of coronavirus cases. Rahul had asserted that the lockdown was a mere pause button but not solution against COVID-19. In an interview with NH, Shailesh Nitin Trivedi, Media head of the Chhattisgarh Congress said, ” Goswami in his prime time show misrepresented facts and distorted Rahul’s statement by bringing in irrelevant references. Attacks on health workers and doctors who are risking their life, amid pandemic across the country, is a result of what Arnab and news channels, anchors like him broadcast every day.”
The complaints against Arnab are seeking action under sections 505 (with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offense against any other class or community), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 290 (punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the complaints asked the state government to act as per the laws against rumor-mongers.
Meanwhile, Twitter broke on Wednesday afternoon as #ArrestAntiIndiaArnab trend. While one user wrote, “While the country fights a pandemic, fake journalists like Arnab are busy inciting communal hatred and pushing anti-minority sentiments. How much lower will they fall? Disgusting! #ArrestAntiIndiaArnab (sic)”, another tweeted, “Arnab Goswami is spreading hate in the country which is harmful to the integrity of India. #ArrestAntiIndiaArnab (sic)” and yet another shared, “journalist Arnab Goswami should be arrested immediately for spreading hatred in the country. Such people work to spoil the atmosphere of the country. The communal incident that is happening in the country is happening today due to journalists like these! #ArrestAntiIndiaArnab (sic).”
Check out Twitter’s angry reactions to Arnab’s “communal anchoring” here:
Days after Palghar lynching incident, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday said that the government will release the names of the accused via WhatsApp today, adding that there is no Muslim on that list. The opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party, had come down heavily on the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government and the state police after the incident came to light. Mumbai BJP general secretary Amarjeet Mishra had alleged that while the attacks were on, the police remained mute spectators and urged the government to take immediate action. However, State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, had warned against giving any communal colour to the incident, as two of the three deceased were believed to be seers.