Mumbai Police Issues notice to Journalist Arnab Goswami for reasons such as inciting communal hate.
Sudhir Jambavdekar, assistant commissioner of police (Worli division) who has sent the notice, has asked Goswami to remain present before him on October 16. The notice (HT has a copy) refers to objectionable coverage of two incidents– lynching of sadhus in Palghar district, and the issue of Bandra migrants gathering during lockdown– and states that Goswami and his channel gave communal colour to the incidents and tried to incite communal tension between Hindu and Muslims.
On April 21, Goswami conducted debate show `Puchhta Hain Bharat’ on Republic Bharat TV on the issue of mob-lynching of two monks and their driver at Palghar in Maharashtra.
The show-cause notice said during the debate (in Hindi), Goswami asked whether it was a crime to be Hindu and wear saffron clothes and whether people would have remained silent had the victims been non-Hindu.
A case under IPC sections 153 (giving provocation to cause riot) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion) and other sections was registered against Goswami following the program, it added.
Only because of the COVID-19 pandemic there was no communal violence but the comments posed a threat to communal integrity and law and order. So as a preventive action the police had now started the process of taking an undertaking for good behaviour from Goswami under section 108 (1) (A), the official said.
The notice also mentioned that before the Palghar incident, Goswami had allegedly made provocative comments about a crowd of migrant labourers which gathered outside Bandra Railway Station here during lockdown. A police case was registered against him in this case too.
Goswami has two FIRs registered against him in Mumbai. One has been registered at NM Joshi Marg police station earlier while the other is at the Pydhonie police station. Both the offences indicate similar allegations against Goswami of inciting hatred and communal tension between two religious groups or communities.
Senior inspector of the NM Joshi Marg police station sent a proposal to the ACP seeking preventive action against Goswami. Acting on the proposal the ACP initiated the process.
The notice states that Goswami’s channel spread communal tension and it can be easily seen from the extremely abusive, communal and hateful comments from the viewers of videos of the shows on YouTube.
Goswami will have to appear before the ACP and give satisfactory reasons on why such preventive action should not be taken against him.
The Mumbai police recently also launched a probe against Republic TV and two other channels for alleged manipulation of Television Rating Points