Saturday 03 June 2023

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

Arnab a vendetta victim, but no tears for him


The abatement to suicide is a joke. The Maharashtra police used arrest as a part of vendetta politics but the country's liberal voices went silent shedding no tears for the cheer leader of ruling party's vendetta politics

Arnab in custody

It was really music to hear those spewing hate and celebrating incarceration of political opponents demanding to know as why liberal voices went silent as their darling was arrested by the Alibaug police. They were in a way right as the state has no business to act in such a manner and use disproportionate force. The state has to act fairly and in a civilized manner. It was nice to know that country's top ministers including those holding home, law, External affairs I &B, commerce, environment and textiles besides number of chief Ministers (including the Goa CM) and the BJP president speaking of blatant misuse of state power by Maharashtra police. They all spoke about freedom of press and silencing of dissenting voice. They remembered the emergency days but forgot that vendetta politics also saw the arrest of Indira Gandhi by the then home minister Charan Singh. That she converted her detention into martydom is a different matter.

A few days back a Kerala Journalist Siddique Khaapan was arrested on his way to Hathras  under draconain UAPA and sedition. Does anyone   remember another journalist  Prashant  Kanojia  had to face custody twice over social media posts. Uttar Pradesh has sent eight journalists to custody during lockdown period .Dhaval Patel an editor of Gujarathi newspaper who did story on Gujarat CM faced sedition and remained inside. About 55 journalists across the country came to enjoy the inside of walls, some of whom for reporting covid-19 related matters! Vinod Dua, Siddhart Varadrajan and Supriya Sharma were all booked by BJP governments over their professional work. No tears were shed for them.

Of late,draconian laws are used to clamp down those who are critical of the establishment. Those who stand up get selectively targeted by police and other agencies. It is expected that journalists and the media stand by those who face the strong arm of the state. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud called dissent ‘a safety valve of democracy’ Over last six years space for dissent has been shrinking. There have been over 200 serious attacks on journalists with forty being killed over professional work. At world press freedom Index, our ranking has been consistently declining since 2016. We have lost count of political and social activists in custody in Bhima Koregao cases and anti CAA protests. The ruling party now crying over dissent celebrated their incarceration. Their darling dubbed them as #UrbanNaxals and menace to society. He portrayed every political dissenter as enemy of the country deserving deportation to Pakistan in the interest of nation. It was not his job to create an enlightened society. He is actually in the business of dissemination of hatred, preparing the society as a lynch mob

Our Police force has become more powerful, corrupt and highly politicized. The use of police in settling political scores is the order of the day. Law enforcement agencies have become tools in the hands of the ruling class whether in dealing with social conflicts or ‘managing’ political opponents or even in manipulating numbers in government formations.  Selective application of criminal law to political opponents to tar their image and instill fear has been the hallmark of the present government. That has brought disrepute to the country’s criminal and legal system. Btw does anybody remember the coverage in Republic TV, of the arrest of P. Chidambaram by the enforcement directorate as the officers scaled the walls of his compound as though the former union minister was a terrorist?

Arnab Goswami has always been a cheer leader in the hounding of political dissenters. His TV studio was a kangaroo court. He ‘prosecuted’ and persecuted those seen against the ruling establishment and passed extra- judicial decrees. With no shred of evidence backed by the central and Bihar governmen, he created a murder narrative from an unfortunate death of Suhant Singh Rajput. Rhea Chakravarty faced the brunt. As student activists, political opponents of the ruling establishment faced custody; he has always celebrated their misery. He wanted ‘law to take it’s own course’ knowing very well slow moving wheels of law would finish then mentally and physically.

The suicide note certainly does not make out a criminal offence, with no element of criminal intent made out and in any case the Alibaugh police had closed the case. BJP led government may have shown undue haste in closing the case. This darling of the ruling party is certainly at the receiving end of a political crossfire between two estranged allies trained in vendetta politics with the one in power having also excelled in street politics.  

Some liberal voices have been kind to him but many are not prepared to be as magnanimous. The Editors' Guild of India and Goa Union of Journalists may have taken some soft stand but the leading members of the media are questioning the soft approach. They do not fear of being found wanting on a principle. Why have we come to such a sorry state that people with lifelong commitment to liberty having second thoughts over an unwarranted arrest? If there is division even among journalists in taking a stand over an illegitimate action against a fellow journalist, that is only because, he is being judged by standards set by him, not by civilized standards. Now, why the Law should not take it’s own course?

His arrest has highlighted the hypocrisy of the ruling party over press freedom and dissent. If a realization dawns on Goswami that police power cannot be cheered in the manner he did, his arrest would have served a great purpose. The Alibhaug police is certainly in the wrong but has done some collateral service of drawing national attention to the use of police force as a tool of vendetta.


Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Wa wa, You agree he is a victim but think he deserves the treatment the Shiv Sena goons have meted out to him. Unique logic of a lawyer with agenda!

Abhi |

Blogger's Profile


Cleofato A Coutinho

Cleofato Almeida Coutinho is a senior lawyer and one of the constitutional expert in Goa. A member of Law Commission of Goa, he also teaches at Kare College of Law in Madgao.


Previous Post