Journalist Nikhil Wagle was attacked by BJP supporters in Pune on the night of February 10 for his post criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conferring the Bharat Ratna award on senior BJP leader LK Advani. Pune police have also registered a defamation case against Nikhil under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 153A (promoting enmity), 500 (punishment for defamation) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief). The FIR was reportedly registered at Vishrambag police station based on the complaint filed by a BJP leader Sunil Deodhar. In the post that had offended the BJP, Nikhil had said that the Bharat Ratna award was being given by “one rioter to another.”
Video footage of the assault showed that Nikhil’s car came under attack while he was on the way to an event. The car’s windows were broken and ink had been thrown all over the vehicle. Nikhil was on his way to ‘Nirbhay Bano’ event at Sane Guruji Smarak in Pune. He was accompanied by activist Vishwambhar Choudhari and human rights lawyer Asim Sarode who were also attacked. The BJP had earlier reportedly tried to stop the event from taking place as Nikhil was scheduled to attend it. Vishwambhar told The Indian Express that their vehicle was attacked with stones and eggs. He also told them that the windshield of the car had been shattered and that glass shards had flown all over the car's occupants.
In a statement released after the attack, Nikil said, “Yesterday, death stood at the door. I survived only because of your love.” Recounting the attack, he said that Asim Sarode did not back down even after the broken glass fell on him to prevent the attack against Nikhil.
He wrote, “Yesterday's attack was the worst. Stones, sticks, hockey sticks, rods, eggs, ink were all used. We were chased four times in just half an hour and surrounded.” The journalist alleged that the attack took place with the connivance of the police.
“It is my belief that we all survived yesterday only with the blessings of Phule-Ambedkar. Now the next life is for you. We will conquer Maharashtra to defeat fascism. We have no culture to fear such cowardly attacks. I am saying here that I will risk my life again so that this country does not become a Hindu Pakistan.”