Protest staged against attack on journalists

Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Journalists, human rights activists and civil society groups on Tuesday wore black bands across their mouths to stage a silent protest at the Churchgate station against the recent attack on Loksatta editor Kumar Ketkar’s residence.

They also demanded that sedition charges against the journalists of The Times of India in Ahmedabad be dropped.

Jatin Desai, activist and journalist, said the sedition charges were unwarranted and unjustified. The media fraternity has been demanding action against all those who attacked Mr. Ketkar’s residence in Thane last week after his article appeared in Loksatta. The protestors said freedom of expression and speech was under threat all over the country. Mr. Ketkar’s house was attacked by around 70 activists of Shiv Sangram Sanghatana . The attackers threw stones, broke windowpanes and smeared black paint on the door of his house. The attack was against Mr. Ketkar questioning the government’s decision to instal a statue of Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea.

Bharat Desai and Prashant Dayal, resident editor and correspondent of The Times of India in Ahmedabad and a photographer of another daily have been charged with sedition for questioning the alleged links of Ahmedabad police chief O.P. Mathur with a mafia don.

Right to Information activist Shailesh Gandhi and others have demanded immediate action against those who attacked Mr. Ketkar’s house; the sacking of the leaders of this gang, who allegedly belonged to Nationalist Congress Party, from the party; and an apology from the Home Minister to Mr. Ketkar and his wife.