On Tuesday evening, Arnab Goswami received much appreciation from his right-wing audience on social media for calling out the “hypocrisy” of Indian liberals and those who returned the awards stating “increasing intolerance”. He also went after documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, stating that he had gone “missing” from his channel.
Patwardhan has now hit back saying that he refused to be Times Now's News Hour ever since Goswami attacked him during the award returnee's press conference a few months ago and that he would return if Arnab stopped ‘barking’.
He wrote on Facebook:
"apparently yesterday arnab goswami announced on his channel that i had gone missing. if he turns to other channels than his own he may sometimes spot me. in case he does not understand why i have refused to be on his channel, i will spell it out here.
i have boycotted arnab ever since his total lack of reason, respect and courtesy were exposed when he began to bark as we returned our national awards. i can certainly understand dissent. i cannot understand barking. if someone gives him a biscuit and he gets retrained to stop barking, i may try his channel again."[sic]
During the discussion on Newshour on January 12, Arnab asked where the liberals and ‘award wapsi gang’ were as Muslim mobs were out in Malda. Arnab accused them of going into hiding as many of them were not answering calls.
This is not the first time Patwardhan has had problems with Times Now. There have been instances when he had been invited for debates and later was told his presence was not required, he says.
Some hours after his remarks on Facebook, Patwardhan added another post on his wall, responding to questions on why he did not return an award over the violence in Malda. He said:
“every now and again i am reminded that this page is read by many of my regular paid and unpaid trollers. their latest accusation? why dont i return my awards over malda !
“let us get some things straight. i oppose the mob violence in malda which was triggered by a hindu mahasabha leader making derogatory comments about prophet mohammed. in case anyone has forgotten, it should be recalled that hindu mahasabha and rss members killed mahatma gandhi, and their modern followers are trying to build a nathuram godse temple in meerut.
“as it happens there was destruction of public property in malda but no reported loss of life and no one was injured as far as i can gather. but any riot on the basis of religion is reprehensible. i think muslims should not react in violence to provocation as it is done precicely to create an image of muslims being violent. we must all understand what the fascist game plan is, and not play into their hands.
“i remind everyone that i along with hundreds of others returned my award to protest the nascent fascism growing in this country. the intolerance even on this page is there for all to see.”
On Thursday morning, Patwardhan emailed The News Minute, requesting a clarification on his views on Arnab Goswami. He said “my take on arnab is more complicated than this single post”. He added that Goswami had not always been “bad” to him in the past and that on some issues like the Sanathan Sanstha, he agreed with Goswami. It was Goswami’s "thoughtless" conduct over the return of awards as a means of protest was that “shocked” him, "apart from the shouting match format his show often deteriorates to".
(This story was updated on Thursday to include Patwardhan’s Facebook post on Malda, and also the clarification he issued on Arnab Goswami.)
Image credits: Left: Anand Patwardhan/ Facebook, Right:Arnab Goswami by Debastein (Own work)via Wikimedia Commons