The conference took place in New Delhi as the Modi Government was proposing various contentious bills to Parliament, including one that gives security agencies the power to arrest individuals as terrorists.
Journalists had gathered to listen to a group of 49 celebrities led by the filmmaker. They were all prominent signatories of a letter which questioned the government over the growing incidents of hate crimes directed against Muslims. They alleged that there was a rise in acts of hatred, including lynchings over the use of beef, and forcing Muslims to recite Hindus religious chants.
Just as the media briefing started, Arnab Goswami, the Managing Director of Republic TV, known for his fervid style of questioning panellists on news debates, started lambasting Aparna Sen with a plethora of discomforting questions LIVE from the Mumbai TV studio. He primarily took an interest in the genuine motives of the celebrities in writing their open letter to the PM.
The filmmaker, though pretended to be unrattled by his volley of questions, didn’t answer him, perhaps sensing that her press interaction was being hijacked.
On the other side, Arnab kept on with his typical style of high-decibel ‘grilling’ with a large number of journalists watching the unexpected interruptions while awaiting their turn to raise a question or even listen to her properly.
He repeatedly demanded she explain why celebrities like her don’t show up when notorious elements target people of other faiths or do something objectionable in terms of speech or acts against the country. He wanted her to reveal which political ideology she was trying to promote by being part of the ‘letter-writing’ to the country’s prime minister.
His voice blasted via loudspeakers during the conference, as he continually called her names but Sen, somehow, continued the press briefing ignoring him.
The letter by a group of celebrities follows several instances of mob attacks on members of the Muslim community for theft, carrying beef, or other petty incidents and also forcing Muslims to repeat Hindu religious chants.
The 49 celebrities have tried to convey to the prime minister the word ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has turned into a war cry against non-Hindus and in many places individuals are being brutally beaten by mobs for religiously motivated reasons with some Muslims even killed.
On 26 May, in a speech addressing the members of the new Indian Parliament, Prime Minister Modi vowed to protect the interests of India’s minorities.
In 2019, eight incidents of mob lynching occurred claiming the life of one while 40 were injured. In 2018, 31 events took place claiming 13 lives. On 21 July, two people were forced to chant Jai Shree ram in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, the incident triggered a row on social media where netizens debated about Arnab Goswami’s literal “hijacking” and grilling of Sen.
No super stuff this! Shouting your lungs out and muting the response of the other is nothing but journalism. Sorry to say, Arnab is losing it, day in day out.— Rajib Chatterjee (@RajibChatterjee) July 25, 2019
Is he talking to himself? or is he pretending that he's on phone with someone? u wil never see a circus reporter as Arnab in the whole global list of reporters. He's a special breed 😂— Ahmed says (@AhmedAlwayz) July 24, 2019
Yar somebody set up crowdfunding to arrange finances for cure of this man. He desperately needs to be admitted in rehabilitation center asap.— Sohail Khanzada (@SoheilKhanzada) July 24, 2019
Others backed Arnab for putting up some serious questions to the group of ‘lobbyists’.
Love you Arnab for calling the Hypocricy and lies of such paid and agenda driven dumbhead celebrities 👏👍👌🙏🏻💐❤️😘😘😘😘😘😘— Shridhar Iyer🇮🇳 (@sridhariyer5) July 25, 2019
Arnab so proud of you!!!!— Bhavana (@bhavnapb) July 24, 2019
Thank you for exposing this hypocrite of the worst kind!!!
She is a jihadi I have no shame in saying that!!! If she refuses to condemn any Islamic Terror then dust bin is the place she belongs to!!!
Some preferred sharing hilarious memes on the whole controversy.