Maharashtra Journalist Run Over Allegedly By Man Named In Expose

The People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL) wants a “totally independent” probe and protection for the journalist’s family and witnesses.

The death of a journalist in Maharashtra has sparked shock, anger, and demands for an investigation. Shashikant Warishe, 48, was run over at a petrol station in Ratnagiri on Tuesday after writing about a controversial refinery project in Konkan. Pandharinath Amberkar, a land dealer who featured in his Monday article, allegedly drove the SUV.

Mr Warishe died in the hospital. Amberkar, 42, was arrested and charged with murder. Initially, he was charged with culpable homicide.

In his Monday article in the Mahanagari Times, Warishe described Amberkar as a “criminal” who had been photographed with top leaders like Narendra Modi, Eknath Shinde, and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis.

In a series of articles in Marathi newspapers, Shashikant Warishe wrote about Amberkar’s support for the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical project.

Many media outlets have demanded a probe into Mr Warishe’s death, alleging he was killed because of his stories on the multibillion-dollar project that locals are strongly opposed to.

Mumbai Press Club said the “brutal, public murder” highlights “plummeting civil liberties and free speech standards and brazen attempts by both state and non-state players to crush any media reporting that proves inconvenient.”

In several reports, Warishe highlighted “local resistance to a petroleum refinery in Barsu” and recently pointed out banners with Amberkar alongside the Chief Minister and Prime Minister.

Mumbai Press Club says Amberkar, a leader of the local land mafia, threatened and harassed those who resisted land acquisition for the refinery.

Marathi journalists also met with Maharashtra’s Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis to demand an investigation.

Before the 2019 national election, the Shiv Sena, which was in an alliance with the ruling BJP at the time, scrapped the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical project in Ratnagiri district in coastal Konkan.

Last year, the Centre hinted at reviving it elsewhere.

The People’s Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL) wants a “totally independent” probe and protection for the journalist’s family and witnesses.

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