Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle gets threat from Govind Pansare's alleged killers, rejects security

Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle, who has been getting threat from the right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, has rejected the security cover offered to him by the Maharashtra government.

The government has offered security cover to Wagle in view of increased threat perception to him in the wake of the arrest of a Sanatan Sanstha activist in connection with the Govind Pansare murder case.

Nikhil WagleNikhil Wagle. File Pic 

"Last week, police officials came to me saying that government has decided to offer security cover in view of general threat perception. However, they did not specify whether it was because of the threat from Sanatan", Wagle told PTI.

"They had a picture of Pansare and me crossed out in their magazine, it was always clear this would happen. The threats are not surprising," Wagle told a leading news channel.

"I have been getting threats from Sanatan. Four years ago, Abhay Vartak of Sanatan (Sanstha) walked out of a programme I hosted. Even as recently as last week, Sanatan Prabhat (a publication of the outfit) carried an article warning me," he said.

Sameer Gaikwad, an active member of Sanathan Sanstha, was arrested last week in connection with murder of slain rationalist Govind Pansare. He is being interrogated by Maharashtra police officials in Kolhapur.

82-year-old Pansare and his wife, Uma were shot at by two motorcycle-borne youths on February 16, 2015, near their home in Kolhapur. Pansare died four days later at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai while his wife survived the attack, suffering injuries that crippled her.

Mumbai Press Club asks police to take note of threat to journalist

Mumbai Press Club has called upon Maharashtra Police and the state government to take a serious note of the threats issued to senior journalist Nikhil Wagle from Sanatan Sanstha.

The Club, in a statement today, said it had "noted with serious concern the Sanatan Sanstha targeting Wagle."

"Nikhil Wagle, a senior journalist, is also under threat. He is getting threat from Sanatan Sanstha since 2011. Maharashtra police has also found that Nikhil's name was mentioned regularly in the telephonic conversation between arrested Samir Gaikwad and some other members of Sanatan Sanstha including absconder Rudra Patil," it said. 

"Mumbai police officials recently met Nikhil and requested him for the police protection. Nikhil has refused security as it will hamper his journalistic activities," it said.

The Club also expressed concern over Sanatan targeting Shaymsundar Sonnar, a senior journalist with a Marathi newspaper 'Prahaar'. 

"The Mumbai Press Club fully stands behind Sonnar and Wagle and their family members and calls upon the Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Government to take serious note of it," the Club said.

"In view of arrests of people associated with Sanatan in connection with veteran secularist and Leftist leader Comrade Govind Pansare's murder, Sonnar has filed a formal police complaint and has asked the police for protection for him and his family from the right wing organisation. 

"Sanatan Prabhat wrote an article targeting Sonnar for his interpretation of Sant Tukaram's pro-science preaching. Sonnar is a vaarkari preacher who is invited by people across Maharashtra for kirtans and public speeches. His rationalist views are very much appreciated and well-accepted. The newspaper's article which appeared on September 1, 2015, spat venom against the senior journalist and called him anti-Hindu," the Club said.

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