News18 journalist held after man throws ink at Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil
The Mumbai Press Club accused Patil of using police to intimidate Govind Wakade, who was released a day later.
Journalist Govind Wakade was held on Saturday a day after a man threw ink at Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil in Chinchwad town, the Mumbai Press Club said in a statement as it criticised the move.
Three men were arrested for the incident on December 10. One of them had thrown ink at Patil and two others shouted slogans against him.
The incident came a day after Patil, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, said that BR Ambedkar and Jyotirao Phule did not seek government grants for educational institutions and they “begged” people to gather funds for starting schools and colleges.
In its statement on Sunday, the Mumbai Press Club said that Wakade, a News18 journalist, was covering Patil’s event where ink was thrown at him.
“The minister, without any investigation or evidence, accused Govind Wakade of being part of the planned protest and directed the police to detain and press charges against the journalist,” the press body said, accusing Patil of using police to intimate and harass a journalist who was doing his job.
Wakade was released from the jail on Sunday night after journalists spoke against the arrest, it said.
“However, it is high time the state government lays down rules for investigative agencies that ensure journalists on duty are not harassed,” the press body added.
Meanwhile, Patil’s remarks about Ambedkar and Phule were criticised by the members of the Nationalist Congress Party, the Congress and the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray). As criticism mounted, Patil issued an apology saying that he has the utmost respect for Ambedkar and Phule.
“What I meant was begging for funds is similar to present-day concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility, donations or crowd-funding… I should not have used the word ‘begging’,” he said. “The use of such a word is common practice in rural areas.”
The Maharashtra Police have suspended three police officers and seven constables who were deployed at a BJP leader’s home where the incident took place.