Congress workers take part in a march against Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami at Worli on Friday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Congress workers take part in a march against Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami at Worli on Friday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Congress holds protests in Maharashtra, seeks action against Arnab Goswami

The party called for action against Republic TV’s editor-in-chief over the alleged leaked WhatsApp chats related to the 2019 Balakot airstrike and other sensitive national issues
By Surendra P Gangan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:50 AM IST

Congress workers staged agitation across Maharashtra demanding action against Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami over the alleged leaked WhatsApp chats related to the 2019 Balakot airstrike and other sensitive national issues. The Congress alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its top leaders were shielding Goswami.

At Mumbai, the protest was held outside Republic TV’s office in Lower Parel, followed by a rally at Jambori Maidan in Worli. As a part of its nationwide stir over the issue, key party leaders, including district presidents, led the protest marches in their respective districts.

“Goswami knew about the Balakot airstrike three days in advance as the information was leaked to him by top BJP leaders. He is a traitor and should be booked for sedition. BJP leaders are shielding him for their political interest by compromising national security. Goswami used the sacrifice of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) jawans martyred in the Pulwama attack for financial gains by boosting his channel’s TRP (television rating points),” said Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap.

He also questioned why central agencies failed to make the purported chats between Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former chief of ratings agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) public similar to ones about alleged drug procurement in which actor Deepika Padukone’s name emerged. “If the central agencies failed to take action against him, Mumbai Police should book him for these serious violations,” added Jagtap.

At Latur and Parbhani, the protests were led by legislators Dhiraj Deshmukh and Suresh Warpudkar, respectively.

Party leaders submitted memorandum to collectors demanding action against Goswami.

Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said, “It appears that Goswami was in the know about the airstrike as part of the Indian defence forces’ retaliation to the Pulwama attack. Goswami appears to know about the airstrike three days in advance. In one of his chats, he said a big name in the [Narendra] Modi government had revealed about it to him. A thorough investigation into the issue and Goswami’s arrest are a must as this pertains to national security.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Goswami said, “It is beyond absurd to suggest that expecting India to strike back at Pakistan after the Pulwama attack was a crime. It was publicly available information and thousands of journalists reported, wrote, broadcast and analysed in the same direction after Pulwama. I am horrified that the Congress party thinks any journalist in India expressing the views publicly stated by the government is committing a crime.”

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