The cabinet sub-committee constituted to evaluate the demand for a separate law to prevent attacks on journalists has given its opinion — there isn't any need for such a law.
Though a section of journalists have been making the demand for a long time, the six-member committee, headed by industries minister Narayan Rane, was formed only in June after the murder of crime reporter J Dey. The committee held deliberations over the past six months following which they arrived at this conclusion, said senior government officials. A report to this effect has been submitted to the chief minister. According to a senior government official who was a part of the committee meetings, apart from home minister RR Patil, no other member was ready to support the framing of such a law.
“The committee report has said that if the law is to be enacted, it should be done by the central government and not the state,” the official said. The committee has recommended that in case of any attack, there should be a special committee constituted at the district collector level to probe the case.
SM Deshmukh, founder member of the Patrakar Halla Virodhi Kruti Samiti, an organisation formed to fight for the rights of journalists, has said that the group will protest against the government at the winter session and boycott the official tea party. “We request the CM not to accept this report, which is not in favour of protecting the fourth estate,” Deshmukh said.
The committee also included co-operation minister Harshvardhan Patil, medical education minister Vijay Kumar Gavit, public works minister Jaidutt Kshirsagar and animal husbandry minister Nitin Raut.