Journalists in Mumbai gathered at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near Mantralaya, the administrative building, and staged a silent black-badge protest against the alleged murder of a Marathi newspaper journalist, Shashikant Warishe (48), from Ratnagiri on February 7.
Warishe, who worked for Mahanagari Times, was extensively reporting on issues related to the setting up of the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited at Barsu in the district. On Monday, he was mowed down by an SUV allegedly driven by land dealer Pandharinath Amberkar who was a supporter of the project. Warishe died of injuries in a hospital at Kolhapur on Tuesday.
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Recently, he wrote an article against Amberkar titled ‘Photo of criminal alongside PM, CM and DCM claim farmers protesting against refinery’. Allegedly, the now-arrested accused used to threaten any person who opposed land acquisition for a proposed refinery in the area, and cases were also registered against him.
Protesting journalists demanded the State government to invoke stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the accused, conduct the trial in a fast-track court and the accused be given exemplary punishment.
They also demanded the government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to unravel a ‘larger conspiracy’ in the case and a compensation of ₹50 lakh to the victim’s family.
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Similar protests were carried out by journalist unions across the State.
On Monday when Warishe was on his bike near a petrol bunk on the Rajapur highway, an SUV driven by Amberkar mowed him down and dragged him for several metres, police said.
“Soon, Amberkar fled from the spot, while locals rushed the victim to the hospital for immediate medical assistance. He succumbed to injuries on Tuesday,” they said.
The accused was arrested and remanded to judicial custody till February 14.