Journalist Nikhil Wagle’s car was reportedly attacked on Friday by BJP workers in Pune while he was en route to attend an event, according to officials. The workers were allegedly protesting his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and LK Advani following Advani’s receipt of the Bharat Ratna award.
An official from Deccan police station stated that BJP workers hurled ink at the car carrying Wagle, along with two others, Aseem Sarode and Vishwambhar Choudhary, who were traveling under police protection to the ‘Nirbhay Bano’ event organized by Rashtra Seva Dal in the Singhad Road area.
Television footage showed BJP workers surrounding the car at Khandoji Baba Chowk, vandalizing it, and causing damage to the windscreen and side panes.
Despite the incident, Wagle managed to reach the event venue under police protection, the official added. Speaking at the ‘Nirbhay Bano’ event, Wagle stated, “I forgive all those who attacked me. This was the seventh attack on me; I have been attacked six times earlier.”
Earlier in the day, there was a standoff between workers from the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena and the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi outside the Rashtra Seva Dal premises, with protesters attempting to prevent Wagle from speaking at the event.
Subsequently, a case was filed against Wagle for allegedly making offensive remarks against the Prime Minister and Advani. “Nikhil Wagle has been booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 500 (defamation), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Vishrambaug police station. We are investigating the matter further,” the official stated.
Senior BJP leader Sunil Deodhar had filed a complaint against the 64-year-old journalist at the Vishrambaug police station on Tuesday over the controversial comments, he said.
The senior scribe made the alleged defamatory remarks on social media platform X against Modi and Advani after the Centre announced that the latter would be conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.