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Attack by the Far Right on a TV Network in Maharashtra

India: Why The Shiv Sena Gets Away With Intimidation and Violence?

Statements from citizens groups + report and videos from India’s CNN-IBN TV network

by, 21 November 2009

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Peoples’ Media Condemns dastardly attack on Ibn-Lokmat

Press Release

[21 November 2009]

Peoples’ Media Initiative (PMI) strongly condemns Shiv Sena for the
dastardly attack on Ibn-Lokmat’s Mumbai and Pune office. The attackers
ransacked Mumbai office and injured four journalists including women
journalists. A group of around 25 Shiv Sainiks barged into the office with
cricket stumps and hockey sticks. They were on rampage for about 45 minutes. They damaged furniture, computers etc. Ibn-Lokmat staffers’ contacted police but, as usual, they reached late.

The attackers were giving slogans in favour of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and they abused Ibn-Lokmat. It is not for the first time that Shiv Sainiks attacked women journalists. In early ‘90s Shiv Sainiks brutally attacked two women journalists when they were returning home from a journalist’s demonstration held outside Sena Bhavan, Dadar.

Shiv Sainiks tried to attack Nikhil Wagle, editor of Ibn-Lokmat But; Lokmat
staffers cordoned him and saved him. This is an attack on freedom of
expression and speech.

The State Government must act firmly against the culprits. The track record
of Maharashtra Government is dismal. Many incidences of attacks on
journalists have taken place in last couple of years with virtually no

The journalist community will, once again, oppose the fascist attack. Peace
loving people of Mumbai and Maharashtra should come out openly and condemn Shiv Sena’s goondagiri..

(Jatin Desai)

Secretary, Peoples Media Initiative (PMI)

Shameful act

PUCL press statement on attack against IBN Lokmat

21 November 2009

PUCL strongly condemns Shiv Sena activists’ attack on IBN Lokmat offices in Bombay and Pune. It is a shameful act against freedom of expression, rule of law and civilized norms of society.

PUCL views repeated occurrence of these types of attacks, in Mumbai in particular and in other parts of the country in general, with great concern and believes that these incidents recur because master minds, instigators and perpetrators of these incidents enjoy impunity. To date, not a single key leader of these attacks has been punished thereby tacitly lending support to violence on street by those who are responsible for maintaining law and order. It is precisely because of this reason that crude violence has entered even state legislature spectacle of which the whole nation witnessed recently undermining in turn the institutional sanctity and cherished constitutional values.

PUCL demands that the state government immediately order for a time bound CBI inquiry into the incident and take the strict action against any one found responsible for vandalizing office of the media house. The government must ensure punishment for those responsible for the incident thereby sending a strong message against deterring any future act of hooliganism by such outfits and contain culture of passive terror that these groups are spreading.

issued by Pushkar Raj, General Secretary, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)


Act against guilty in attack on IBN offices: Editors Guild
- (Daily News & Analysis, 21 November 2009)

o o o, November 21, 2009


Talking point: Is there an end to Sena hooliganism?


EXPERTS TALK: Panelists feel it is time when the society and media should unite against Shiv Sena.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

IBN Office Attacked in Mumbai

November 20, 2009

On Friday, goons of the Shiv Sena attacked IBN Network offices in Mumbai and Pune. Around 20-25 Sena activists barged into the office at Vikhroli carrying iron rods and baseball bats, slapped the receptionist and started beating up journalists, including women.

IBN Lokmat’s Editor-in-Chief Nikhil Wagle was also assaulted. The second attack on IBN’s office in Pune came within an hour of the first one in Mumbai. The Shiv Sena has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The question that was being asked on CNN-IBN’s Talking Point was: Can anything be done to stop the Shiv Sena? Will civil society stand up, what will the state do?

To try and answer the question on the panel of experts were Editor Loksatta, Kumar Ketkar; Editor-in-Chief Hindu, N Ram; Congress Spokesperson Manish Tiwari; BJP spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh and Shiv Sena Legal Head, Rahul Narvekar.

CNN-IBN: Your first reactions Mr N Ram, when you heard about yet another attack brazenly on a newspaper and this time on a news channel office.

N Ram: This is extremely grave. Between the Sena and the MNS, each is more outrageous than the other. We really have to push forward and get to the bottom of this. Governments in Maharashtra have traditionally appeased the Sena with whatever rationalisation.

This time, I think we got to hold them to account – the state government as much as these goons and their leaders and you have to go right to where the orders came from. The media can ensure it if we form a network all over the country and bring them to account. Speaking for the Hindu and myself, we will take this extremely seriously. But we need unity among the media to counter any appeasement.

I would say that this is a case for the CBI. I do not have enough confidence in the capabilities of the state government to bring these goons and those who gave the orders to justice.

CNN-IBN: Kumar Ketkar, you have actually had to face these goons in more than one occasion. Your house was attacked by a group claiming that it stood by Maratha pride because you wrote against the Shivaji statue issue. Do you believe that actually we will see action and do you believe that the ring leaders will be caught? What do you think why is it happening again and again in Mumbai?

Kumar Ketkar: So far, the Maharashtra Home Ministry and the Mumbai Police have been extremely lenient towards such actions and they have been going on and on. The Shiv Sena, MNS and many other groups have been emboldened to carry out such attacks on the media – individually and directly. As a result what has happened is that more and more groups feel that no action has been taken and that they can carry on with their hooliganism and vandalism. This kind of tendency started with Shiv Sena about 40 years ago.

The first political murder of an elected representative in the country was carried out by the Shiv Sena in 1970 of comrade Krishna Desai. Ever since, the Shiv Sena has been indulging in such acts and after Shiv Sena split, its followers in the MNS are also carrying out such acts.

Unless the government comes very heavily and take tough action against them, and the civil society, media and all political parties come together, this won’t stop. Unfortunately, many political parties have a stake in such kinds of attacks. They connive because they too carry out similar attacks in official areas or in metropolitan areas on the media, and therefore, they have some kind of justification in trying to be lenient as because you must have seen even after the Assembly attack, there have been statements by the ruling parties as well the Opposition that they (MNS) should be forgiven. No excuse should be given at all to any kind of vandalism, hooliganism, be it against media or against any institution of the state.

CNN-IBN: Manish Tiwari, I hope you are listening because I know the Congress will say this is a Shiv Sena problem and they are responsible but the goons have flourished primarily under Congress regime in Maharashtra for 40 years because you are seen to be too soft on the goon culture. That’s the problem with the Congress. The Shiv Sena believes that they will get away with the problem. Will they get away again, sir?

Manish Tiwari: I entirely understand your outrage. First of all, allow me to offer my sympathies to all those people who are working in your organisation, who have unfortunately been injured in this attack.

On behalf of the Congress, we would like to condemn it in the most unequivocal terms possible. The Congress party does not only govern in Maharashtra but has governed almost every state in the country in one time or the other. We do not believe in supporting or encouraging hooliganism. This is most reprehensible what has happened and I do hope that the Maharashtra government would implement the law as it needs to be implemented because this cannot be allowed to be carried on.

CNN-IBN: Kumar, are you convinced with it?

Kumar Ketkar: I would be very happy to be convinced but have you seen how many doctors, hospitals and nurses have been attacked and most of the time the attacks have been carried on by the Shiv Sena. When their (Shiv Sena) activist Anand Dighe died in Thane, the entire hospital was burnt down and smashed and that hospital has not come up again. It was in 1966 when the Shiv Sena was born and ever since Maharashtra has been used to this culture.

CNN-IBN: Rahul Navekar , you have been listening about the 40 years of the goon culture, I know you don’t like us targetting the Shiv Sena but what do we do when we see images of innocent people being targetted today. How can you - the Shiv Sena - justify on the grounds of spontaneous reaction? This was a planned attack by the Shiv Sena.

Rahul Navekar: In so far as this incident is concerned, it appears to be an emotional and spontaneous outburst of the Shiv Sena. It could be that the news channels are trying to malign the Shiv Sena.

CNN-IBN: A few weeks ago, IBN-Lokmat was targetted for being anti Congress and NCP by the Congress, now we are hearing that the channel is anti Shiv Sena?

Kumar Ketkar: This seems to be a strange kind of spontaneity which erupts four days after the attacks made by IBN-Lokmat. I think such kind of spontaneity cannot be described either in English or Marathi as spontaneity. This is obviously pre-planned because the attack on Sachin Tendulkar’s statement by Bal Thackeray was made on Sunday and the attack has taken place today (Friday). What kind of spontaneity is this? The Shiv Sena as an institution has itself believed and openly said that they support Hitler’s dictatorial tendencies.

CNN-IBN: Marathi Asmita – how does it fit in by attacking a Marathi language channel, a Marathi Editor and Marathi staffers? Why this tendency to violence?

Rahul Navekar: I don’t think anyone needs to teach Shiv Sena what is Marathi Asmita about. We are here since inception for the cause of Marathi.

CNN-IBN: Does Marathi Asmita involve hitting innocent and defenceless women?

Rahul Navekar: I have not seen a single clipping where a particular woman was being attacked by a mob. I am sure no Shiv Sainik or Bal Thackeray will go to the extent of even raising an eyebrow at a woman. So, let’s get that out of the question.

CNN-IBN: Attacks in media houses have been going on for over a decade. Why has the media become such a soft target?

N Ram: As Kumar said, these things have been allowed. The society has got accustomed to it and the media is part of that and we haven’t taken it seriously. In this particular case, here is an opportunity to bring these goons and those who clearly plan these attacks to justice. I do not have faith in the capabilities of the state government and the police to get to the bottom of the affair. We need a CBI enquiry. We have to take preventive measures and the Shiv Sena must be brought to book.

CNN-IBN: The Shiv Sena is your ally, the BJP claims to stand for politics with a difference. When is the BJP distancing itself from the politics of violence?

Sidharth Nath Singh: BJP doesn’t believe in politics of violence. We don’t accept any kind of violence in democracy.

CNN-IBN: Images of today’s violence have been aired internationally, what does this do to the image of Maharashtra? Why has the civil society in Mumbai been so feeble?

Kumar Ketkar: Mumbai has not become feeble, Mumbai has become used to it. Mumbai is far too tolerant, Mumbai is extremely cosmopolitan. Mumbai is liberal to a fault in the sense that it has become tolerant in the extent of tolerating such violence. Majority of the attacks on the media, political leaders and institutions have been carried out by Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena worship and encourage violence. So Mumbai’s youth become more and more involved in this and this is a very dangerous trend.


The above content from CNN-IBN is reproduced here in public interest and for educational use.