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Is it repeat of 1975? Has Maharashtra moved to undeclared emergency in 2020 by MVA government?

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Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of Republic Media Network, was assaulted, dragged and arrested from his residence, while his 20-year-old son and other family members were manhandled, when as nearly 40-50 police officers cordoned off his home, this morning. Arnab has been witch hunted by Mumbai Police carrying assault weapons for exposing crimes in Maharashtra such as Sadhu lynching in Palghar, Sushant Singh Rajput death case, drugs racket in Bollywood. Therefore, when Maharashtra government ran out of option, after hounding and grilling Arnab for 12 hours, they opened an abetment of suicide case, that was closed two years ago. 

Is this how freedom of press was trampled during the Emergency, which lasted for 21 months from 26 June 1975 to 22 March 1977? 

On 26 June, 1975, when the then President, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed declared a state of Emergency in India citing threat to the national security by “internal disturbances”, the Indira Gandhi government had laid out strict rules for the journalists across the country that no news would be published without verification of nearest Press Advisor. Any news item questioning government must be permitted by Chief Press Advisor. Editors were under contact watch of Chief Press Advisor. 

Attack on Arnab Goswami by Udhav Thackrey reminds of Ramnath Goenka, owner of Indian Express, who had been systematically targeted by Indira Gandhi. 

Indian Express, was the prime target by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, similarly Republic Media Network is continuously being attacked by Udhav Thackrey government. Electricity supply of Indian Express had been disconnected on 25 June 1975, hence edition of 26 June couldn’t be published for voicing out dissent against Indira Gandhi government. His son B.D. Goenka and his samdhi, Shriyanprasad Jain were imprisoned under the draconian MISA law. 

Sanjay Gandhi was furious with the then broadcasting (I&B) minister, Inder Kumar Gujral. 

“All material relating to news broadcasts must be approved by me,” demanded Sanjay Gandhi from Inder Kumar Gujral on 20 June 1975, since Gandhi felt government-controlled All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan – were not giving the expected spin to the news. Gandhi yelled at Gujral, “You don’t appear to know how to control your ministry. Can’t you tell your people how to put out the news?” Gujral didn’t give in. He retorted back, “Don’t raise your voice. No material relating to news from my ministry will be sent to you” and walked out. Inder Kumar Gujral, broadcasting (I&B) Ministry was literally fired and replaced by VC Shukla, who was then minister of state for defence production on 26 June 1975.

Kangana Ranaut was more persecuted than Kishor Kumar, the late legendary singer, was hounded by Indira Gandhi’s new I&B Minister VC Shukla.

VC Shukla wanted Bollywood to help promote on All India Radio and Doordarshan and had called top film personalities how they can help. VC Shukla wanted to use popular voice of Kishor Kumar, but he had refused to perform at a Congress rally in Mumbai during emergency. Thereafter, his songs had been banned from All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan from May 4, 1976 till the Emergency was lifted. Later Shah Commission revealed Kishor Kumar was unwell, had heart problem, and was advised by doctors not to meet anyone. 

Udhav government has sent out a chilling message to people to shut up or be ready to meet the fate of Arnab Goswami and Samit Thakkar, who was tied with ropes like a criminal before he was sent to court for his tweets.

Police machinery of Maharashtra could not bring the perpetrators of Sadhu lynching in Palghar to justice. Sushant Singh Rajput death case remained unsolved, until CBI took over it. Where is police machinery being used? Police power is being invested to harass Kangana Ranaut and Arnab Goswami. Potholes on Mumbai Roads are nightmare for commuters, but BMC took no time to demolish Kangana Ranaut’s office.

Maharashtra miserably failed to deal with Covid-19 pandemic. A common man is badly suffering. Diwali is round the corner. This is the opportunity to earn livelihood by traders and peasants. But, local trains, lifeline of Mumbai still remains suspended, although theatres have been allowed to function. Unfortunately, government is investing its machinery to silence media which ask questions and raise voice against its failure. Isn’t it repeat of Emergency in 1975?

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