Old habits die hard, as Congress has always indulged in targeting free speech while going all out whenever it comes to protects those under its wings, especially the ones who are seemingly trying very hard to recreate an image destroyed by nepotism and corruption.
The latest incident that has come to light is the series of FIRs lodged against journalist and editor of Republic TV news channel, Arnab Goswami. What is fascinating is that the Congress party could not digest:
- Sonia Gandhi’s original name is Antonia Maino
- The allegation that the monks lynched in Palghar do not seem to shake Sonia Gandhi’s conscience, since she has not said a thing about it despite the fact that these monks were lynched under the nose of a government in which her party is a partner
Doyens of free speech in the Congress have repeatedly tried to falsely accuse the government for ‘targeting journalists’ and ‘muzzling freedom of expression’. However, all of this sanctimony disappears when the shoe is on the other foot. Arnab Goswami has even been attacked, allegedly by people from the Congress. Given the fact that the party is in power in several states, the reactions towards anything said by any journalist would have ideally been guided by the philosophy ‘practice what thou preacheth’.
However, the Congress’ real spirit of vendetta seems to come out when it comes to defending their ‘first family’ and the ‘senior leadership’ at any cost from any perceived slight, which makes one wonder just how thin skinned that leadership may have been.
Shocked at audacity of gruesome act, Smt.Gandhi said extremism & intolerance will never be able to curb freedom of expression…(contd)
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 7, 2015
.@mumbai_pyc Vice President @SurajThakurINC submits memorandum at Ghatkopar West Police station to register FIR against news channel @republic & Editor Arnab Goswami for hate mongering, inciting communalism and spreading fake news through his channel.#ArrestAntiIndiaArnab pic.twitter.com/XRe1V6FPyL
— Youth Congress (@IYC) April 22, 2020
As if that was not enough, twitterati was subjected to the poetry of Kapil Sibal.
some moral lepers
appear on the screen
abusive and vulgar
seen venting their spleen
but one special journo
knows not what he says
his vicious agenda
he daily displays
time to disinfect
to “arrest” the disease
he then will surrender
and fall on his knees
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) April 22, 2020
Contrast this with the narratives thrown around a few years back by the ‘top leadership and its leader with that great coiffure of his, Shashi Tharoor, who will defend even people with dangerous views just to score brownie points with then ‘liberal’ crowd.
We have come here to fight for the idea of India where everyone has a voice and the freedom of thought and expression: Rahul Gandhi
— Congress (@INCIndia) November 7, 2015
I have no sympathy whatsoever for Maoism but freedom of thought, belief & expression are fundamental rights in any democracy. To arrest activists who have neither committed nor facilitated violence is to betray our democracy. This is not the India that Gandhiji fought to free.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 29, 2018
Since memory tends to be weak when stretched, let us look at the statements made in a recent matter. An American citizen by the name Siddharth Varadarajan who runs a portal had recently been served a legal notice for publishing fake news. The outrage however on the matter from the Congress ecosystem was nothing less than cacophonous.
I've known @svaradarajan for a long time and consider him one of the most able, most strongly principled & courageous voices in the Indian media, even when we don't agree all the time. To prosecute him is indeed to persecute freedom of expression. @PrakashJavdekar, pl intervene. https://t.co/TkCMjM6NNb
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) April 12, 2020
Not the First Time; Won’t Be the Last
Freedom of speech and Congress have never gone together. It has been well documented that the greatest ever Prime Minister of India as per the Congress ecosystem, Jawaharlal Nehru, left no stone unturned to ensure that people were thrown behind bars for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression. Add to that the number of books he banned and censored, and one really sees his greatness.
The ones who keep peddling that freedom of speech is under attack often forget how the only time ever this country really saw a trampling of fundamental rights was under the hallowed leader of the Congress party Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi, who took to the streets to ensure that people of a certain community were being sterilized in lakhs. Yet, the callousness with which the Congress and its ecosystem goes on pushing a lie makes you wonder just how hard they have tried to erase the memory of the Emergency’s horrors. Empty pages of newspapers, journalists and opposition leaders in jails by thousands, people disappearing into thin air – the atmosphere of fear it created was truly horrifying. The behavior of the cabal was even worse – as veteran BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani had once said about the ecosystem – when asked to bend, the media crawled during the emergency.
Do the Congress party really want us to believe that they believe in freedom of speech? Judging by its behavior, not at all. We all must remember how Rajiv Gandhi had decided to ban books in a zeal to earn votes of certain communities. Closer home, one finds it hard to believe how the Congress has always ensured that certain topics can never be discussed. People forget how all discussion on Lalit Modi stopped the minute he dropped references to the Gandhi-Vadra family. Or how the issue of YES Bank quietly disappeared from the mainstream media circus the minute a painting came into question. What we would have certainly loved to see on that issue was another poem by Kapil Sibal – alas, that was not to be.