THE arrest of ABP Majha journalist Rahul Kulkarni has drawn fire from activists, journalists and even politicians in Maharashtra with most describing the action as “unwarranted” and “harsh”. Kulkarni secured bail on Thursday.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said he had told Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that the journalist should not be arrested. “I don’t know why he was arrested. My view is that he should not have been arrested,” Raut told The Indian Express.
In an editorial published in Saamana on Thursday, Raut instead blamed the railways for the chaos at Bandra. The editorial said even as there was speculation about whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lift the lockdown in the days preceding the announcement, the railways accepted bookings of 40 lakh people. “Why did the railways accept reservation after April 15? Therefore, the railway ministry is responsible for the chaos at Bandra station. Will Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis now demand the resignation of the railway minister,” Raut asked.
Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said though it seems the channel erred in putting out a speculative report, arresting the reporter was harsh. “At best, the channel should have been warned… Arresting the reporter was a harsh move. But at the same time, the channel should have carried a clarification in its 11 am news after the news at 9 am. I think, there was one wrong sentence in the 9 am news,” he said.
Chavan said there should be a thorough probe into who leaked the railways letter.
ABP Majha editor Rajeev Khandekar said, “There was no connection between our report and the chaos at Bandra station. If our report was responsible for the chaos, then it should have happened across Maharashtra. We immediately reported at 11 am that lockdown has not been lifted and train services are not being resumed.”
State BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhaye said, “The government is trying to hide its failure by targeting the journalist. There was no connection between his report and the chaos at Bandra station. Yet he was arrested.”
“…Kulkarni was booked for the mayhem in Bandra. It is shocking. FIRs are being lodged against party workers and the media who are doing their job, which is unbelievable,” said senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde, addressing the media through video-conference.
“The gathering of migrants at Bandra station needs to be probed and those responsible should be exposed…,” he added. “More shocking is the failure of intelligence. How could such a massive crowd gather in an area which is in the neighbourhood of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray,” he said.
(With inputs from Mumbai)
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