Two men were arrested in the early hours of Thursday for allegedly trying to attack Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and throwing ink on his car.
The incident took place in Lower Parel area of central Mumbai around 12.15 am, when Goswami and wife Samyabrata, also a journalist, were returning home. Both were unhurt, the police said.
The assailants were caught by Goswami’s security personnel and handed over to police, who said both are affiliated to the Youth Congress.
Mumbai Youth Congress chief Ganesh Yadav confirmed that the two are affiliated to the organisation but refused to comment further. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “They have done it in their individual capacity.”
A case has been registered against the duo — identified as Arun Borade and Prateek Mishra – under IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 34 (common intention).
Written complaint submitted to police by Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, after he and his wife were attacked early this morning in Mumbai by 2 unknown persons while they were driving home from their studios. pic.twitter.com/wTU1Dau1lC
— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2020
The Indian Newspaper Society (INS), the Editors Guild of India and the Press Council of India (PCI) have condemned the incident.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad sought action against those involved, while BJP president J P Nadda condemned it and targeted the Congress over the incident.
The incident took place hours after at least two FIRs were filed against Goswami by Congress leaders in Raipur, Chhattirgarh, and Nagpur, Maharashtra, accusing him of inciting communal hatred in the Palghar lynching case and making derogatory remarks against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in his TV show.
More cases were filed against Goswami on Thursday by Congress leaders in several states, including Rajasthan, Telangana, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
Goswami, who was given Y-category security in 2016, is protected by two policemen and a private security guard round the clock. They were following him in another car when the alleged attack took place, the complaint says.
In a written complaint to police, Goswami said two men on a bike blocked his car when he reached Ganpatrao Kadam Marg around 12.15 am. The pillion rider allegedly hit the windowpane on the driver’s side several times. Realising that they couldn’t break through, the “pillion rider removed a liquid bottle from his pocket and threw liquid all over the car on driver’s side, where I was sitting,” Goswami stated.
Journalism of filth!
Deeply disgraceful that PM & BJP eulogize this brand of TV anchors.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) April 22, 2020
He said the duo shouted and abused him in Hindi and made violent gestures.
A police patrolling party reached the spot and took the two to NM Joshi Marg police station.police station. The police said they have obtained CCTV footage from the area and are examining it.
The police said they have obtained CCTV footage from the area and are examining it.
The police said the accused, residents of Sion Koliwada in central Mumbai, are unemployed.
During questioning, the duo allegedly said that they were infuriated after watching a video clip on social media in which Goswami was seen humiliating Sonia Gandhi and therefore carried out the attack, an officer said. “Mishra was riding the bike. Borade got off and threw ink on the car,” the officer said.
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement pic.twitter.com/I7oSIU977r
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) April 23, 2020
Asked how they learnt about Goswami’s movements, an investigator said, “The two claim that they knew it.”
The initial complaint registered by the police does not refer to political links of the accused. DCP (zone-III) Abhinash Kumar said, “We produced them in court today and sought their custody; we want to verify who they are affiliated with…”
Mishra and Borade have been remanded in police custody until April 27.
Nadda tweeted, “Shocking to see Arnab Goswami attacked after Congress CMs publicly threatened him…. Congress shows it is the party that brought Emergency and continues its rich tradition of trampling free speech.” Prasad tweeted, “Deeply condemn the violent physical attack…. State Police must take lawful action against attackers.”
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said every attack on journalists is condemnable, as this is against democracy.
Shocking to see Arnab Goswami attacked after Congress CMs publicly threatened him. Sad to see such public hounding of a journalist for his freedom of speech. Congress shows it is the party that brought Emergency and continues it’s rich tradition of trampling free speech.
The INS said in a statement, “This act shows how goons belonging to political parties have scant respect for freedom of expression. The INS urges Maharashtra government to take strict action against the offenders.”
The Editors Guild of India stated, “Any physical attack, instigation for hate or verbal abuse hurled against any journalist is a reprehensible act.”
The PCI stated, “Every citizen, including a journalist, has the right to express their opinion which may not be palatable to many but this does not give anybody the authority to strangulate such a voice. Violence is not the answer even against bad journalism.”
Objecting to Goswami’s remarks on Sonia Gandhi, the Congress on Thursday asked the I&B Ministry to take action against the journalist and his TV channel.
Arnab moves SC against FIRs
The Supreme Court will on Friday hear a plea by Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami challenging FIRs against him in some states over his remarks on a TV show.
The matter has been listed before a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah.
The bench will hear it through video conferencing. Advocate Pragya Baghel, through whom the plea was filed, said Goswami is seeking protection from any coercive action on the basis of the FIRs.
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