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Arnab faces multiple FIRs for anti-Sonia remarks after blaming Congress for midnight ‘attack’

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Arnab Goswami | YouTube screengrab
Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami | YouTube screengrab


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New Delhi: Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and Congress locked horns Thursday after the former allegedly used “derogatory” words against interim party chief Sonia Gandhi during a discussion on his channel about the Palghar lynching incident.

The face-off began Thursday when Goswami lodged a police complaint in Mumbai after his car was allegedly attacked by two bike-borne men Wednesday around midnight when he was returning to his Worli residence with his wife. According to Goswami, the two attackers were Youth Congress workers.

After the incident, Goswami in a video called Sonia Gandhi the “biggest coward in this country” and said “if anything were to happen to him, it is Sonia Gandhi who will be responsible”.

 

Goswami filed the complaint at NM Joshi Marg police station in Mumbai, following which two accused were arrested and an FIR filed against them.

ThePrint reached Goswami for a comment on the matter, but is yet to receive a response.

Meanwhile, Congress wings in various states — Maharashtra, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Punjab — filed police complaints against Goswami Wednesday and Thursday. Most of these complaints alleged that he used derogatory language against Gandhi and made “inflammatory statements” during discussions on the Palghar incident on his channel.

Goswami in one of his shows broadcast Tuesday on Republic Bharat — the Hindi wing of Republic TV — made a remark about Gandhi’s Italian origin during a discussion on the Palghar lynching incident and said she is “happy” that the saints have been killed in a state ruled by her party.

“Will Sonia Gandhi remain quiet? She is quiet today and she is happy that the saints have been killed where her government is ruling. She will send a report to Italy that she is getting saints killed in a place where her government is ruling and she will get praises for that,” he said on the show.


Also read: If Uddhav Thackeray bows before Arnab Goswami’s dare, he will only weaken himself before BJP


Denouncing ‘attack’ on Goswami’s car

The alleged attack on Goswami was denounced by several politicians on Twitter.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar condemned the “attempt to attack Arnab Goswami”. 

“We condemn every attack on any journalist. This is against democracy and it is really ironical that those who preach tolerance have become so intolerant,” he said.

 

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah said Goswami’s complaint and absence of his security people should be investigated, and the guilty should be punished.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel also slammed the alleged attack and said “the law should take its own course”.

 

In a press release Thursday, the Press Council of India (PCI) took a suo motu cognisance of the matter and asked the Maharashtra government to submit a report in connection with the case.

The PCI statement, however, also said: “Violence is not the answer even against bad journalism”.

Complaints by Congress

Congress sources told ThePrint that a majority of the police complaints against Goswami have come from Chhattisgarh. They, however, didn’t specify the number of complaints filed against Goswami in the state.

An FIR was registered in Raipur against Goswami over separate complaints by Chhattisgarh Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo and state Congress president Mohan Markam.

According to the complaints, the anchor during a debate on his channel used words and statements that led to inciting people for riots. It further stated during the same debate, he used derogatory language against Gandhi and made baseless allegations of communal nature against her.

Another FIR was filed against Goswami in Raipur based on a complaint by district president of Congress Girish Dubey for allegedly spreading fake news related to the Covid-19 outbreak.

In Nagpur, Maharashtra, an FIR was filed late Wednesday night against Goswami by Maharashtra Power Minister Nitin Raut.

The FIR alleged giving provocation with intent to cause riot, promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion or race, deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and defamation under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

In Bihar too, an FIR was filed by Congress leader Kokab Kadri for allegedly spreading hatred and making indecent remarks against Gandhi.

Delhi Congress president Anil Chaudhary also lodged a complaint with the police for registration of an FIR against Goswami. 

In Punjab also, an FIR was filed on a complaint by Harmohinder Singh Grover, chairman of Punjab Congress’ Freedom Fighter Cell. 

‘Outrage’ of Congress supporters

The Congress termed the multiple FIRs and police complaints against Goswami “spontaneous” and an “outrage” of party supporters.

AICC secretary in-charge, communications, Pranav Jha told ThePrint the Congress has faced continuous agenda-driven journalism in particular sections of media earlier too, but has always been tolerant. 

“What has happened in the recent episode involving Republic Bharat TV is unfortunate. The reaction that you see through lodging of complaints and FIRs are spontaneous and triggered by outrage of our workers and supporters,” he said.

“Freedom of expression and responsibility to not misuse it for baseless abuse and hate mongering is what is expected from any of us and we hope that in this matter the law will take its own course,” Jha added.

Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik, meanwhile, said Goswami has “lost complete mental balance”.

“Strongly condemn Arnab Goswami’s attack on Smt Sonia Gandhi. He is full of venom, partisan, abusive and has lost complete mental balance. It’s time that journalists should come out and disown him,” he tweeted Wednesday.


Also read: How not to report: A lesson from Republic TV, Times Now, ABP covering Bandra migrants


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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