Deshmukh condemns attack on Loksatta editor's residence

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Mumbai, Jun 5 (UNI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today strongly condemned the attack on the residence of Loksatta editor Kumar Ketkar in Thane.

Speaking at a function in Mantralaya here, Mr Deshmukh said ''Mr Ketkar is a respected journalist and a friend. One may not agree to what he has written, but the cowardly attack on him is nevertheless not acceptable.'' He said the perpetrators of the act would be punished severely.

Mr Deshmukh said there used to be a committee to look into such attacks, which would be revived.

Mr Ketkar's residence in Thane was attacked by Shiv Sangram workers. They were protesting against an edit in Loksatta, a Marathi daily, which satirised the idea of Shivaji memorial in the open sea.

Shivasangram is led by state NCP vice-president and ex-MLC Vinayak Mete.

Deputy Chief Minister and Home minister R R Patil also condemned the attack.

Speaking to reporters in his Mantralaya office, Mr Patil said seven persons were arrested from the spot in this connection. They have been charged with rioting, which is a non-bailable offence, he said.

Mr Patil said the guilty would be brought to book and their party or post would not be a constraint.

He said the state government was ready to consider a proposal to amend existing laws, to protect professionals like doctors and journalists.

Newly elected Shiv Sena MP and former editor of Maharashtra Times Bharat Kumar Raut said his party and he personally condemned the attack.

He said journalists can only protest as they do not believe in pelting stones.

Editor of Navashakti Prakash Kulkarni demanded that the state government take due care to protect the journalists from such attacks, while Lokmat editor Dinkar Raikar expressed strong reservations against politics of attacks.

The Mantralaya and Legislature Reporters' organization today felicitated newly elected Rajya Sabha member and journalist Bharatkumar Raut at the hands of Mr Deshmukh.

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