Minutes after Marathi news channel IBN-Lokmat’s Mumbai office was ransacked on Friday, its Pune office was also attacked allegedly by Shiv Sainiks.
Seven people shouting slogans pelted stones on an outdoor broadcasting van parked outside the channel’s Panmala office. The police prevented them from entering the office and arrested six persons — all Sena workers from Khadki.
Home Minister RR Patil who was in Pune, said “strict action will be take against the attackers”. “Arrests are being made,” said Patil. “We have identified culprits by screening the videotapes. All damages will be recovered from the attackers.”
Patil said the government was considering providing security to some of the main centres of media outlets.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the attack was not against the media but against “perverts who always attack the Sena chief”.
The Sena drew flak from all quarters for the attacks. The Congress said the reason for the attack was ‘utter nonsense’. The Nationalist Congress Party called it ‘Talibanisation of the city’.
Sena’s ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), distanced itself. “Using violence is condemnable and we will never advocate it,” said Gopal Shetty, city BJP president. “The media is doing its job. If there were some grievances they should have been solved through dialogue.”
The Maharashtra Navnir-man Sena (MNS) called the attacks ‘a desperate move’. “The ground is slipping for the Sena and hence is resorting to such methods,” said MNS legislator Shishir Shinde, an erstwhile Sainik.
Citizens have urged the state to crackdown on the Sena. “The time has come to show law breakers that such behaviour will not be tolerated,” said author, Sharada Dwivedi.
Former civic chief DM Sukhthankar said Thackeray’s image has taken a beating due to the incident. The Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists said such incidents were increasing due to state inaction.