Nikhil Wagle Attacked by BJP Workers After an FIR Over Comments on Modi and Advani
Journalist Nikhil Wagle and two others were assaulted by alleged BJP workers at Khandoji Baba Chowk in Pune on February 9. This comes after an FIR was filed against Wagle for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader LK Advani after the latter was awarded Bharat Ratna by the Central government.
As per an official that PTI spoke to, "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."
The FIR was registered based on a complaint by BJP leader Sunil Deodhar at the Vishrambaug police station.
The attack on Wagle, human rights lawyer Aseem Sarode and activist Vishwambhar Choudhary happened when the three were travelling under police protection to attend the 'Nirbhay Bano' event organised by Rashtra Seva Dal.
Allegedly, the BJP workers threw ink on their car and shattered its window panes. The protest by BJP workers against Wagle was to stop him from attending the event. The visual of the attack showed "BJP workers mobbing the car at Khandoji Baba Chowk and vandalising it, resulting in the vehicle's windscreen and side panes getting damaged."
However, despite the protest of BJP workers, Wagle reached the event and addressed the gathering.
"I forgive all those who attacked me. I have been attacked six times earlier, and this was the seventh," Wagle said.
The incident drew sharp criticism from opposition leaders in Maharashtra. In a tweet, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and MP Sanjay Raut said that several of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance's women leaders were also attacked by "BJP goons" with bricks, stones and eggs.
“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).
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi alleged that Maharashtra is seeing Goonda Raj in the tenure of Shiv Sena and BJP. She also recalled how a Shiv Sena (UBT) corporator, Abhishek Ghosalkar, was shot dead just 24 hours before the alleged attack by BJP workers on activists who are critical of the ruling party.
Supriya Sule from the Sharad Pawar faction of the NCP condemned the attack on Wagle and other activists.
“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 the strictest accountability. #Goondaraj,” Supriya Sule wrote.
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