Frankly speaking, I do not know whether the arrest of Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on Wednesday was as per the laws of the land, or was a blatant misuse of power by the Maharashtra government.
Whatever may be the case, it pains the heart to see a man once so elevated, plummet to such lows and why would it not? He is, after all, one of Assam’s favoured sons, who in his formative years as a journalist made not just our state but the entire country proud.
But, it’s not his arrest that I want to comment on today (as I’m confident that the law will take its own course). Rather, it is the inexplicable outburst by one after another BJP leader that we saw throughout the day on Wednesday that has compelled me to pen this write-up.
I’m baffled by the manner in which the party has come out in support of a journalist who in recent years has probably been the loudest custodian of ‘Independent’ journalism in India and apparently has zero political affiliations.
Yes, any citizen or political party has every right to speak up against any injustice happening anywhere in the country. However, was the arrest as big a deal as the BJP made of it? Union home minister Amit Shah believes that the arrest is an attack on the freedom of the press.
In fact, he went on to the extent of calling it an ’emergency’ in a country that has seen the same party selectively turn a blind’s eye to countless rapes and murders (of journalists included) not so long ago. A notion that is hard to fathom also because Arnab has been arrested for allegedly abetting suicide and not for his journalism (or lack of it).
So brazen was the BJP’s support for Arnab today that it seems as if it is only the Prime Minister of India who’s now left to come out denouncing the arrest.
The writer is a freelance journalist based in Guwahati. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org