Mumbai : Taking a strong exception over the arrest of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case, the Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma hit out at the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, terming him a “completely unworthy son of Balasaheb Thackeray”, and Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, saying he was the “most coward officer in India”.
The Maharashtra police said they have arrested the firebrand television news anchor, Goswami and charged him with abetment to suicide in connection with the 2018 death of an interior designer. Mumbai police said that the charges against Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami are linked to the deaths of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother, which police determined to be suicide.
Republic TV in a statement called Goswami’s arrest a “black day of India’s democracy” and alleged he was physically assaulted by the police. His channel showed a video of Goswami being forced into a police van by the officers outside his residence in Mumbai.
Multiple senior leaders of BJP and media associations, including Editors Guild were quick to condemn Goswami’s arrest. “Blatant misuse of state power against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami is an attack on individual freedom and the 4th pillar of democracy,” tweeted the union Home Minister Amit Shah. “This attack on free press must be and will be opposed.”
The powerful Assam minister Sharma said, “The Maharashtra chief minister has betrayed the trust of the nation, a completely unworthy son of Balasaheb Thackeray. He has brought defame to his late father, Maharashtra, and the entire country.” He demanded Goswami’s immediate release and demanding a public apology.
The Assam Minister also called Mumbai Police Commissioner Singh coward for allegedly deploying a policeman, armed with an AK-47 rifle, to arrest the journalist. “I had heard that the Mumbai police commissioner was a strong officer. But just to arrest Arnab Goswami, he had to deploy a cop with an AK-47. This means that he is the most coward officer in India,” he said. Goswami is a native of Assam.