Scribes say threatened by Sanatan Sanstha, press club concerned

Mumbai, Sep 21 (IANS) Journalists Nikhil Wagle and Shyansundar Sonnar have said they have been getting threats from Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha, following which the Mumbai Press Club on Monday urged the Maharashtra government and police to take serious note of the threats.

In a statement, the Mumbai Press Club noted with “serious concern” the Sanatan Sanstha threatening Wagle since 2011.

Police have found Wagle’s name mentioned in regular telephonic talks between Sanatan Sanstha members and Samir Gaikwad, who was arrested last week in connection with the killing of Communist leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in February.

The press club also expressed solidarity with Sonnar, who works with Marathi daily Prahaar and who has already filed a police complaint over threats from the Sanatan Sanstha, which targeted him in an article in its mouthpiece Sanatan Prabhat on September 1, 2015, in which it labelled him as “anti-Hindu”.

Wagle, known for his aggressive stance on various public issues, says he has received threats from the Sanatan Sanstha on Twitter and also through its mouthpiece Sanatan Prabhat, which ran an article warning him on airing his views.

Maharashtra Police offered him security cover, which he declined saying that as a media person, he would not be able to work under such measures.

“Last week, four police officers visited me to offer security. They have even given a letter to this effect, but I have rejected. I am a journalist. How will I function with security? Moreover, it is the duty of the government to ensure security of all people, not just mine,” Wagle told media persons here on Monday.

Around four years ago, Sanatan Sanstha’s office bearer Abhay Vartak staged a walkout from a television show hosted by Wagle.

The Sanatan Sanstha has once again shot into prominence after Gaikwad was arrested from Sangli in Maharashtra and two others from Karnatata in connection with Pansare’s murder.

Pansare, 81, and his wife Uma were shot at by two motorcycle-riding attackers on February 16 near their home. While Pansare died from his injuries four days later, Uma survived but was left crippled.

Following Gaikwad’s arrest, many organisations and political parties have demanded a ban on the Sanatan Sanstha.

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