Media organisations, NGOs and social groups participated in huge processions taken out in Rajapur and Mumbai to protest against the daylight mowing down of journalist Shashikant Warishe in Ratnagiri earlier this week.
Warishe, 48, was knocked down and dragged with his bike by an SUV allegedly driven by a local realty agent, Pandharinath Amberkar, 42, on Monday. While the scribe succumbed to his serious injuries on Tuesday, Amberkar was arrested and charged with murder following a massive outcry.
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Vinayak Raut, who represents the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg Lok Sabha seat, joined the silent procession this morning in which local journalists and media associations, youth and social organisations, besides teenagers and senior citizens, participated.
They carried banners and placards demanding the most stringent punishment for the prime accused Amberkar, currently in police custody.
On Friday evening, Mumbai also witnessed a silent, black-badge procession at the Gandhi statue near Mantralaya, where protesters demanded the trial in a fast-track court, compensation of Rs. 50 lakh for Warishe’s kin and the most stringent punishment for the accused.
Meanwhile, all political parties have condemned the incident and Nationalist Congress Party’s Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar today said he would raise the issue in the Budget Session of the Maharashtra Legislature later this month.
NCP President Sharad Pawar demanded a detailed investigation to reveal the mastermind and plot behind Warishe’s killing.
Congress President Nana Patole, Chief Spokesperson Atul Londhe and other leaders have demanded a thorough probe to reveal the real conspirators and ensure the most stringent punishment for all the accused.
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut claimed that even he has received ‘threats’ warning him that “you will meet the same fate as Warishe”, and demanded to unravel who is the ‘mastermind’ behind the scribe’s killing.
On the other hand, MP Vinayak Raut has pointed fingers at the family of Union MSME Minister Narayan Raut, alleging their links with the prime accused. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured a full probe into the Warishe case and suitable action against the guilty.
Warishe had been running a campaign against a refinery and petrochemicals complex coming up in the region, while Amberkar was a supporter of the mega-project. Arrested for murder, Amberkar allegedly used to threaten any person who opposed land acquisition for the proposed refinery.
An article written by Warishe against Amberkar had appeared in a local Marathi newspaper on the morning of the incident, which took place near a petrol pump in Rajapur, some 440 kilometres from Mumbai.
Besides several political parties, top journalists’ and human rights organisations have condemned Warishe’s killing as an assault on the freedom of the press.