Journalist Nikhil Wagle's car attacked in Pune, Opposition says ‘goonda raj’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Journalist Nikhil Wagle's car attacked by BJP workers in Pune, Opposition says ‘goonda raj’

Feb 10, 2024 06:57 AM IST

A Deccan police station official said BJP workers threw ink on the car in which Nikhil Wagle, Aseem Sarode and Vishwambhar Choudhary were travelling in Pune.

Opposition parties hit out at the Maharashtra government after a car in which senior journalist Nikhil Wagle was travelling was allegedly attacked by Bharatiya Janata Party workers at Khandoji Baba Chowk in Pune on Friday evening. The BJP workers were reportedly protesting Nikhil Wagle's remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and LK Advani after the ruling party veteran was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and the vandalised car of journalist Nikhil Wagle in Pune.
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and the vandalised car of journalist Nikhil Wagle in Pune.

A Deccan police station official said BJP workers threw ink on the car in which Nikhil Wagle and two others, Aseem Sarode and Vishwambhar Choudhary, were travelling under police protection to the 'Nirbhay Bano' event organised by the Rashtra Seva Dal in Singhad Road area in Pune.

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Reacting sharply to the incident, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut alleged that several Maha Vikas Aghadi women workers were beaten up by “BJP goons” and eggs, stones and bricks were hurled at them, while the Pune Police remained spectators.

“Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle's car smashed, ink, eggs thrown at his car.. Brazen Bid to murder democracy by BJP in Pune... MVA will not be deterred, Shame on you Devendra Fadnavis, you are ordering your cadre to harm and injure hapless daughters of Maharashtra...Maharashtra will not forgive you,” Sanjay Raut wrote on social media platform X (formally Twitter).

Another Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also reacted to the Pune incident. “Less than 24 hours since the untimely and unfortunate killing of our former corporator, Abhishek Ghosalkar and now we have this attack on activists who are critical of the BJP. Goondagardi under the gundaraj,” Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote on X.

Earlier on Friday, Priyanka Chaturvedi sought urgent intervention by Union home minister Amit Shah regarding the law and order situation in Maharashtra in the wake of the murder of Abhishek Ghosalkar, her party leader, in Mumbai. In a letter to Amit Shah, Abhishek Ghosalkar referred to the murder of Abhishek Ghosalkar on Thursday, and an incident earlier this month in the neighbouring Thane district where a BJP MLA opened fire inside a police station

Supriya Sule of the Sharad Pawar faction of the NCP said she “strongly” condemns the attack on Nikhil Wagle, describing him “a voice of truth and a beacon of journalism”.

“This is not just an assault on an individual but an attack on freedom of speech itself. The deteriorating law and order situation in Maharashtra under the BJP regime that is tacitly enabling such acts is alarming and warrants strictest accountability. #Goondaraj,” Supriya Sule wrote.

Why was Nikhil Wagle attacked?

An FIR was registered at Pune against Nikhil Wagle, 64, for allegedly making offensive remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader LK Advani after it was announced that the latter would be conferred with Bharat Ratna, police said on Friday.

"Nikhil Wagle has been booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 500 (defamation) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Vishrambaug police station. We are probing the matter further," news agency PTI quoted an official as saying.

Senior BJP leader Sunil Deodhar had filed a complaint against the scribe at the Vishrambaug police station on Tuesday over the controversial comments.

According to the Deccan police, some people climbed on top of the four-wheeler, as they blocked him from reaching the venue. Some threw ink on the car in which Nikhil Wagle and two others, Aseem Sarode and Vishwambhar Choudhary, were travelling under police protection to the event.

TV visuals showed BJP workers mobbing the car at Khandoji Baba Chowk and vandalising it, resulting in the vehicle's windscreen and side panes getting damaged. Nikhil Wagle managed to reach the venue of the event under police protection, a police official added.

Addressing the 'Nirbhay Bano' event, the journalist said, "I forgive all those who attacked me. I have been attacked six times earlier and this was the seventh."

Workers from the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena and the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi were engaged in a standoff outside the Rashtra Seva Dal premises earlier, with protesters saying they would now allow Nikhil Wagle to speak at the event.

Meanwhile, Pune city Shiv Sena president Pramod Bhangire said they were not opposing the event but only the participation of Nikhil Wagle.

(With inputs from agencies)

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