The Union Home ministry is inundated with applications from police personnel who want to be among the 20-strong security personnel who will guard Arnab Goswami 24x7. The government, based on a threat perception analysis by the Intelligence Bureau, decided that in view of threats from Pakistan-based terror groups, the editor-in-chief of Times Now will be given 'Y' category security. 

 

Image credit: Guru Prasath R


But even as Times Now's marketing team is preparing an ad that says it is 'Number One Channel among Security personnel', Maharashtra-based parties have demanded that only Marathi manoos should be allowed to protect Mumbai-based Goswami. The ministry of social justice has however, asked for reservation policy to be implemented while selecting the security guards. 


Tenali Rama has learnt that since Goswami takes on Pakistani retired generals every night, scolding them mercilessly, he has been asked to keep the armed guards with him in the frame, to convey the impression to the world that 'The Nation' is indeed with him. 


"Aap nishchint ho kar samachar ki anchoring kijiye Goswami ji," said Rajnath Singh, Union Home minister to Arnab Goswami. "Aap bhi koyi surgical strike se kam nahi hai." (You anchor without any fear or worry. After all, you are no less than a surgical strike)


In an advisory, Goswami has been told by the Union Home ministry not to allow guests to carry Samsung Note 7 with them in the studio as that could be used to launch a fidayeen attack. It has also asked Arnab to tone down the fire on the screen or completely extinguish it as it would look awkward that policemen are doing nothing to put out a fire while they are on screen. 


Tenali Rama has learnt that some of the guards will be provided with sticks to lathicharge any guest who refuses to leave the studio, the moment an angry Goswami asks them to get out. Rival channels are apprehensive that an armed assault on live television will further boost Times Now's TRPs.


It is learnt that security analyst Gen GD Bakshi too was offered security cover but he threatened to march to the LoC with a weapon in his hand and attack Pakistan before Diwali if any such move was made. "I am a proud soldier. Let us attack Pakistan. Let us remind them of 1965 and 1971. Attack. Let us flush out the terrorists. Let us do many surgical strikes. I repeat, Attack, I say. Attack before Diwali," he thundered. 


Rival channel, CNN News 18, which claims to have removed Times Now from its numero uno position, feels the 'Y' category security is proof that Goswami is ducking for cover. "We are number 1. Such has been our artillery fire that Goswami needed protection," claimed a spokesperson for CNN News 18. 


Other channels not willing to let Goswami gloat over his new found status are working on strategies to counter him. One anchor wants to present the show from the streets of Kashmir with the tagline 'Darr ke aage, jeet hai'. Another channel has procured commando uniform for its star anchor and he will wear it while interrogating his Pakistani guests. An AK-47 will be held by the anchor in place of the mike. 


Meanwhile, at the time of going to press, it is learnt that women organisations have accused Goswami of VVIP racism, arguing the same 20 guards could have been better used to keep women of Mumbai safe. In another representation, Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha and 50 others have written to the government, requesting for protection from Goswami. They have asked the Modi government to provide cotton buds free of cost. 


(Tenali Rama is a satirical series by senior journalist TS Sudhir)