By Samuel Mathai
Raipur: Chhattisgarh police on Wednesday registered a case under section 154 of the IPC against a television news anchor and editor for inciting religious discord after he criticised Congress president Sonia Gandhi during a show about a vigilante attack in which three men, including two Hindu ‘Sadhus’ were killed.
The FIR No.0176 was lodged at the Civil Lines police station Raipur on two separate complaints submitted by Chhattisgarh Health Minister T.S. Singhdeo and Mohan Markam, Chhattisgarh State Congress president respectively, which alleged that Arnab Goswami, editor of the Republic Bharat TV has been promoting hatred between religious groups.
The police have registered the FIR under Section 153, 153A, 153B, 295A, 504 and 505 of IPC 1860 against Arnab Goswami, editor Republic TV; ARG Media Private Limited and Republic Bharat TV.
The case against Goswami, 57, stems from a show he aired on Tuesday on a lynching incident in Maharashtra, in which three men, including two Hindu holy men, were killed by a mob last week.
Newspapers and news channels had said the three men were headed to a funeral when they were dragged out of a car and killed by a crowd that apparently thought they were thieves.
It was a rare case of an attack on Hindu holy men in a country that has more commonly seen lynchings of people from the minority Muslim community over incidents such as the slaughter of cows or on suspicion of being anti-national.
In his programme, Goswami said Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party she leads had failed to condemn the latest lynching incident because the victims were Hindus.
“Let me question if a Muslim or Christian preacher was attacked, would these people be silent? Would Sonia Gandhi, who hails from Italy, be quiet?,” Goswami said. Gandhi was born in Italy but came to India as a young woman more than five decades ago.
“Today there is no word from them, because perhaps she’s satisfied with the killing of Hindu seers in the state where her party is ruling,” he added referring to Maharashtra state where the Congress party is part of the Shiv Sena led government.
The Congress on Monday condemned the attack, saying “There is no place for violence in our civilized society and the strictest possible action must be taken against the accused.”
The Congress said Goswami had crossed all limits in his attack on their leader. “Ridiculous attack by Arnab Goswami on Sonia Gandhi in derogatory language is totally shameful and unacceptable,” said Amarinder Singh, a party stalwart and chief minister of Punjab.
Meanwhile, in a tweet Goswami said he had filed a police complaint of his own after an incident in which he said two men tried to assault him and his wife late on Wednesday as they were leaving their studio in Mumbai.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said that Goswami had faced a physical attack and that should be condemned by all.
“We condemn the attempt to attack Arnab Goswami. We condemn every attack on any journalist ... it is really ironical that those who preach tolerance have become so intolerant,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar told ANI.
Mumbai police said they had detained two men for questioning. They had thrown ink at Goswami’s car, the police said.
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