20:30 GMT19 February 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): A popular Indian news anchor has triggered a Twitterstorm by literally lampooning the celebrity guest during a press briefing by a group of high profile individuals who raised concerns to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over growing incidents of hate crimes and lynchings against Muslims in different parts of the country.

    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.


    Others backed Arnab for putting up some serious questions to the group of ‘lobbyists’.

    Some preferred sharing hilarious memes on the whole controversy.


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