Editors Guild condemns attack on journalist Nikhil Wagle, Kharge slams Maharashtra govt

In a post on X in Hindi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Law and order has collapsed under the Maharashtra government formed by the BJP's stealing of mandate."

Nikhil Wagle
Nikhil Wagle
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PTI

The Editors Guild of India on Saturday condemned an attack on senior journalist Nikhil Wagle in Pune and expressed concern about the police's action of registering a case against him over a controversial comment, while the Congress said the incident reflected the collapse of rule of law in Maharashtra.

A day after a car taking Wagle to a public meeting was attacked, allegedly by BJP workers who were protesting his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and L K Advani after the BJP veteran was awarded the Bharat Ratna, police on Saturday registered a case against some BJP workers.

"The Editors Guild calls on the administration in Pune and the Maharashtra government to book the guilty," the Editors Guild said in a statement issued from the national capital.

It also noted that First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered against Wagle over his statement, and expressed deep concern about the "misuse of criminal laws against journalists in an effort to intimidate and harass them".

"We urge law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint before registering complaints against journalists as an FIR, lest the process of investigation becomes a punishment itself," the Guild said.

In a post on X in Hindi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Law and order has collapsed under the Maharashtra government formed by the BJP's stealing of mandate."

"A politician is being brutally murdered on Facebook Live. An outspoken journalist is being attacked by unruly goons of the BJP-RSS. A BJP MLA is openly shooting at another politician in the police station," Kharge said.

He was referring to the murder of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Abhishek Ghosalkar in Mumbai and an incident in Thane district earlier this month where BJP MLA Ganpat Gaikwad opened fire inside a police station and injured a worker of the Shiv Sena.

Kharge further said that economic development of Maharashtra became possible because Congress governments maintained law and order, but the BJP government "formed with the force of the Enforcement Directorate" was playing with the security of the people of Maharashtra by spreading "goonda raj".

Pune Police, meanwhile, registered a case against some workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly attacking Wagle's car.

Protesting against the senior journalist's comments about the Modi government conferring the country's highest civilian honour on BJP veteran Advani, they were seen vandalising the car in which Wagle and two others, activists Aseem Sarode and Vishwambhar Choudhary, were travelling under police protection to the 'Nirbhay Bano' public meeting organised by Rashtra Seva Dal.

An FIR was registered at Parvati police station under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 336 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety) and other relevant provisions.


The complainant, a woman, claimed in the FIR that she and a few others were protecting Wagle's car even as some BJP workers hurled stones at the vehicle and injured them.

A case was also registered against Wagle and Pune city unit presidents of the BJP, Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress for allegedly violating section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. "The case was registered against them as the event was being held without police permission," said Sambhaji Kadam, deputy commissioner of police.

Earlier, another case was registered against Wagle for allegedly making offensive remarks against PM Modi and Advani under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 500 (defamation) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) at Vishrambaug police station.

BJP leader Sunil Deodhar had filed a complaint against the 64-year-old journalist on Tuesday over his controversial comments, police said.

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