The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Saturday condemned the attack on senior journalist Nikhil Wagle in Pune. A statement on X (formerly Twitter) read, "The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the attack on senior journalist Nikhil Wagle in the city of Pune on Friday. Wagle's views are his. But to attack him for voicing his opinion is illegal, unjust, and deplorable."
The Guild called on the administration to book the guilty, ensure Wagle's safety, and protect his right to express his views. It also noted that FIRs were registered against the senior journalist over his statement and expressed deep concern about the "misuse of criminal laws against journalists in an effort to intimidate and harass them." "We urge law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint before registering complaints against journalists as an FIR, lest the process of investigation becomes a punishment itself," the Guild further said.
The assault took place on Friday evening as Wagle and others were en route to attend the 'Nirbhay Bano' public meeting organised by Rashtra Seva Dal in the Dandekar Bridge area.
Allegedly incited by Wagle's comments on BJP veteran LK Advani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the former was awarded the country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna, the BJP activists damaged the vehicle carrying him, causing injuries to those onboard.
Meanwhile, 10 BJP workers were arrested on Saturday in connection with the assault. The arrested individuals were named as Deepak Pote, Ganesh Ghosh, Ganesh Sherla, Raghvendra Mankar, Swapnil Naik, Pratik Desarda, Dushyant Mohol, Datta Sagre, Girish Mankar, and Rahul Paygude, and they have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code related to rioting and voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
Earlier on Friday, a case had been registered against Wagle at Vishrambaug police station for allegedly making offensive remarks against Modi and Advani under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 500 (defamation), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief). The case was registered on a complaint lodged by BJP leader Sunil Deodhar.