Asaram Bapu violence: Press club apologises to journos

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Asaram Bapu
Mumbai, March 19: The press club has apologised to media persons, who were assaulted by followers of self- styled godman Asaram Bapu. He was criticised by the media over wasting water at a pre- holi function at a time when Maharashtra is grappling with severe drought.

The Mumbai press club condemned the attack on journalists, who were covering the pre- Holi celebrations in the Bapu's ashram in Thane. "We in Mumbai and Maharashtra have been on the receiving end of those who had scant respect for democracy and rule of law. We also have been demanding amendments in the existing laws so that attack on media persons and media houses should be compulsorily treated as non-bailable and cognisable", said Press Club Secretary Rajesh Mascarenhas.

According to the police, Bapu's followers 'pelted stones at television news channel reporters and assaulted them, damaging their video cameras'

Overruling all warnings and water crisis of the state due to the worst drought since 1972, Bapu used a minimum of 50,000 litres of drinking water for Holi revelries in Nagpur's Kasturchand Park. Continuing the saga, he held similar kind of celebration in Navi Mumbai.

According to sources, Bapu's followers had managed tankers after tankers of water from private sources. Later citing media criticism, they allegedly had attacked journalists who were present at the venue to cover the festivities.

Maharashtra's Home Minister RR Patil was quoted as saying, "We are investigating the matter and will get a report by tomorrow. Whoever has instigated the mob will not be spared. We will take strict action."

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