Press bodies demand probe into Maharashtra journalists’ murder

Shashikant Warishe run over on 7 February in Ratnagiri

Shashikant Warishe, 48, was run in Ratnagiri in broad daylight on 7 February 2023. Photo sourced from news websites

Journalist associations have condemned the murder of a Maharashtra journalist who was allegedly targeted for exposing land acquisition issues in a series of reports.

Shashikant Warishe, 48, was run over at a petrol pump in Ratnagiri in broad daylight on 7 February 2023, allegedly by an SUV driven by Pandharinath Amberkar, a real estate dealer who was featured in an article on land acquisition. Warishe was murdered a day after he wrote an article on a controversial refinery project in Konkan, media reports said. Amberkar has been arrested and charged with murder.

The Press Club of India, Press Association and the Delhi Union of Journalists, while condemning the crime, demanded a high-level probe by a sitting high court judge or a retired Supreme Court Judge into the incident. They said the Maharashtra government should announce suitable ex-gratia to the journalist’s family and ensure protection to his family members and witnesses.

Media reports said Amberkar is a supporter of the Ratnagiri refinery and petrochemical project that Shashikant Warishe had written about in a series of articles in Marathi newspapers. His stories on the refinery project found support from local residents, who were opposed to the project and land acquisition, the press associations said.

Warishe used to reside with his mother and 19-year-old son in Kasheli village, which is 24 km from Barsu village, where the project is proposed to come up, The Indian Express reported. The Ratnagiri Refinery & Petrochemicals, promoted by three major public sector oil companies – Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum – was originally planned in Nanar village of Ratnagiri, The Indian Express reported.

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