The ugly, horrible state power on display during Arnab’s arrest, is reminiscent of Nazi regime in Germany. That’s how the ‘Gestapo’ (Nazi Secret State Police) used to barge into eminent citizens’ homes and take them away. Only to be later sent to gas chambers and never to be seen again.

Maharashtra Police has turned into Nazi Gestapo. They seem to be picking up anyone who speaks against the modern Hitler and if their surname sounds non-Marathi, they are treated like terrorists. Kangana ‘Ranaut’, Sameet ‘Thakkar’, Madan ‘Sharma’, Sunaina ‘Holey’ and now Arnab ‘Goswami.’ Notice non-marathi surnames. This is the same racism that Nazis initially showed towards Jews. It would appear that there’s a tacit support from Marathi politicians including state BJP ones due to this outsider vs. insider calculation on their minds. What Marathi manus should realise is that when there were no Jews left in Germany, Gestapo turned to killing fellow Germans to keep the atmosphere of fear alive.

Arnab missed a trick by not creating Republic Marathi channel early on. If he had a Marathi channel, he would today have enough critical political support for himself among Marathi speaking audiences. It would have become politically risky for Uddhav to dish out such inhumane treatment to him. Remember Narayan Rane and his son castigated Uddhav and Aditya like no one else, openly implicated them but they are not touched. It’s because they have political capital in the state among Marathi public. After some initial utterances, state BJP has gone silent because they realise this can easily be played to their disadvantage should Sena decide to play the ‘Marathi’ card. All political parties are silent due to their own political calculations. This is why Arnab needed his own Marathi fanbase as his cushion against such high handedness from the state.

This is doing real damage to BJP’s image nationwide. Although ministers have made a lot of noise in his support. But they look weak that they can’t protect an outspoken TV from a rogue state government. An anchor who mostly agrees with their stand and is seen as a staunch supporter of their nationalistic agenda. He might have helped them gain legitimacy among the English speaking elite who otherwise would have looked down at a party with Hindi heartland support base in the early years. He has also created a hearty band of vocal English speaking panelists, who have given left leaning NDTV, The Hindu, Hindustan Times and Express a run for their money.

After all this, no visible action from the BJP, is seen akin to a commander abandoning a wounded soldier in the battle field and watching from a distance. Central government could have made more visible noises through agencies like NCB by calling Mumbai Police for questioning or CBI making some noise on Disha, Sushant case as a show of visible reactive measures to Uddhav’s audacious gambit but they are otherwise occupied in Bihar. The anger among the Indian population is palpable. BJP may have to capitalise on it by taking action much like Yogi handing over TRP case to CBI overnight. BJP can files cases against Samna editor Raut on some of the offensive articles he wrote and there are plenty of them.

Arnab is an epitome of free press in a thriving democracy with a loud voice. He reminds me of Fox News founder Roger Ailes who gave the ‘right’ in America a potent voice. He left a distasteful legacy behind him due to some personal choices he made but his genius was responsible for two terms for Bush and election of Trump. He changed the narrative by hitting points hard and repeatedly. Incidentally his life story is chronicled in a web series called ‘The Loudest Voice’. Republic is also a loud voice – it’s a loud voice of media freedom that should be so deafening that no Hitler should dare to come near it. Unfortunately in India, democracy is not mature enough to guarantee press freedom.

All now rests with the courts but they will take their own sweet time in dispensing justice while democracy is being ravaged by the likes of Sanjay Raut, who is like a small-time don, thinks he has showed admirable manliness by destroying a female artist’s studio using state machinery. Shivaji Maharaj must be very uncomfortable seeing what is being done in his name in his own Maharashtra…

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