A group of Indian-Americans in Chicago gathered to express support for India’s Republic TV Editor-in-Chief and Anchor Arnab Goswami, who was arrested from his Mumbai residence on November 4.
Shouts of “Arnab Hum Tumhare Sath Hai” (Arnab, we are with you) resonated Nov. 7, 2020, in Schaumburg, Illinois, as the group of well-known ethnic media journalists and community members called for Goswami’s immediate release by the Maharashtra government.
“Today is black day for India and those who targeted Arnab Goswami in a closed case without any notice. As the police have not found any evidence of illegality. There is no place for such illegal acts by the police in a democracy. The freedom of the press cannot be stopped. Today there is an emergency attitude in Maharashtra. The country wants justice and actions against those who illegally arrested him. I am with Arnab,” said Bhailal Patel, former president and trustee of The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA).
Goswami and two others Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda, were arrested by Alibaug police for alleged abetment of suicide in the death of architect-interior designer Anvay Naik.They were remanded to judicial custody until November 18 for a case which was closed in 2018, protesters said.
Vandana Jhinghan, a Chicago journalist who organized the event, stated, “For me, it’s always about the cause. As a journalist and Indian & US citizen, I felt we needed to send a message about how Indian Americans feel about Arnab’s arrest.”
Those present expressed dismay at the Maharashtra Government’s decision to arrest Goswami in a case that they say was closed in 2018.
Supporters raised concerns that the arrest was a violation of freedom of speech and free press -fundamental tenets of a fair and just democracy.
While Maharashtra state government officials say that Goswami is being treated fairly Goswami’s supporters are now calling for the central government to intervene for his immediate release.
“The Maharashtra government has taken illegal steps to arrest Arnab Goswami. We will give a memorandum to the Consulate General of Chicago for his release. I request the Consulate General to take immediate action,” said Chicago community member Amar Upadhyay.
Goswami’s supporters also said they fear that there may be a threat to his life. Goswami, who was being held at the Alibaug quarantine facility, was shifted to Taloja jail in Maharashtra’s Raigad district on Sunday. They say Taloja is reputed for harboring terrorist underworld criminals some whom Goswami has sought to expose.
“My life is under threat. I am not allowed to speak to my lawyers. I was pushed and assaulted this morning. They woke me up at 6 am. They said I will not let you speak to the lawyers. I want to tell the people of the country that my life is under threat,” Goswami was heard shouting on camera footage captured by Republic TV, while being transported from the quarantine center in Alibaug in a police van to Taloja jail.
According to Maharashtra government officials Goswami was transferred to Taloja after allegedly using a mobile phone while in judicial custody.
The Bombay High Court’s decision on Monday to reject Goswami’s plea for interim bail has further complicated the matter.
“In the past, we have seen the courts and Indian judiciary open in the middle of the night for terrorists. But why not for Arnab, who has been a supporter of Indian nationalism. There seems to be no light at the end of this tunnel,” Jhingan told DesiTalk.