Following the arrest of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in the alleged suicide case of interior designer Anvay Naik, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday has slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Sarma said Uddhav has "betrayed the trust of the nation". He is a "completely unworthy son of Balasaheb Thackeray. He has brought defame to his late father, Maharashtra and the country," he added.
Himanta Biswa Sarma also lashed out at Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, saying that he is "the most coward officer in entire India". "I had heard that Mumbai Police Commissioner was a strong officer but just to arrest Arnab Goswami he had to deploy cop with AK-47, that means he is the most coward officer in entire India," he said.
The Assam Minister has further demanded an immediate release of Arnab Goswami and an apology from the Maharashtra government. "Maharashtra government must release Arnab Goswami immediately and must render a public apology. People of Assam are closely observing. CM should listen to the voice of the democracy & not harass a simple journalist," he said.
Meanwhile, condemning Goswami's arrest, BJP leaders including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda on Wednesday said it was an attempt by Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to "silence" those who disagree with them.
"Congress and its allies have shamed democracy once again. Blatant misuse of state power against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami is an attack on individual freedom and the 4th pillar of democracy," Shah tweeted. The Home Minister further said it reminds of "the emergency". "This attack on free press must be and will be opposed," he added.
In a series of tweets, Nadda said, "Every person who believes in a free press and freedom of expression is furious at the Maharashtra Government's bullying and harassment of Arnab Goswami".
"This is yet another instance of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi-directed antic of silencing those who disagree with them," Nadda charged, while describing the entire incident as "shameful." Attacking the Gandhi family, Nadda said "India did not forgive Indira Gandhi for the Emergency. India never forgave Rajiv Gandhi for his assault on press freedom".
"And now, India will again punish Sonia-Rahul Gandhi for their brazen and intimidating use of state power to get equal with journalists," he said.
Besides, hitting out at the BJP, the Congress on Wednesday said its "selective outrage" on press freedom is "shameful" and the law will take its own course in the case.
(With inputs from agencies)