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Attack on senior journalist Nikhil Wagle condemned, BJP says he provoked us, Pune cops say Wagle refused to listen to their advice…

At the centre Mr Nikhil Wagle, flanked by Asim Sarode and Vishambhar Choudhary…


Pune: THE attack on senior journalist Nikhil Wagle and MVA karyakartas by BJP workers has drawn fire from political parties like the Congress, Uddhav Sena, Aam Aadmi Party and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP.

The car in which Mr Wagle was travelling was attacked by BJP workers in protest against the senior journalist’s objectionable comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leader L K Advani.

The attack took place in Pune city on Friday evening when Wagle was heading for the ”Nirbhay Bano” event on Sinhagad Road near Dandekar Pul.

BJP workers astride two-wheelers threw stones, eggs, bricks at the car and also smashed it with sticks. Mr Wagle and other activists like Vishwambhar Choudhary and Asim Sarode escaped unhurt.

Mr Wagle later said anything could have happened. ”I would have died in the attack. This was the seven such attack on my life for using my freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution to articulate my views..But such things will not cow me down. I will continue to speak against the wrong, especially the wrong being done by BJP,” he told reporters in Pune after the event.

BJP Pune unit said its workers were instigated by Mr Wagle through his objectionable comments against the Prime Minister and former Deputy Prime Minister. ”Mr Wagle stooped very low while criticising the Prime Minister and our senior party leader. This angered our party rank and file,” said BJP spokesperson Sandeep Khardekar.

Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar said,”We have ensured full security for Mr Wagle. First, we told him not to come to Pune in view of the surcharged atmosphere after his objectionable comments. And then we had told him to stay put at Asim Sarode’s residence till we ensure that everything fine. He did not listen to us. He went against our advice and headed for the event. There was too much traffic on the streets and it was difficult to manage things. Yet our police did everything possible to block the agitators,” he said.

Condemning th attacking, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena’s spokesperson Sanjay Raut said,”Several MVA women karyakartas beaten up by BJP goons, eggs, stones, bricks hurled at them, Pune police remain 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.”

Supriya Sule, Baramati MP, too strongly condmened the attack,”I strongly condemn the attack on Nikhil Wagle, 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.”

MPCC chief Nana Patol said,”Maharashtra is no more a peaceful state. Goodnas have taken over and the Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis says even if a dog is run over, we will seek his resignation. This shows how serious he is about the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.”

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