The Mumbai Press Club has condemned the "arbitrary detention" of Network 18 journalist Govind Wakade in Pimpri Chinchwad.
Wakade, who works for IBN Lokmat channel of Network 18, was detained early Sunday morning after Maharashtra minister Chandrakant Patil questioned his role in the "ink attack".
"Wakade was covering a public function of Maharashtra education minister Chandrakant Patil near Pune when some protesters hurled ink at the minister for making comments on social reformers Jyotiba Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar," the press club said in a midnight statement. "The minister, without any investigation or evidence, accused Govind Wakade of being part of the planned protest and directed the police to detain and press charges against the journalist. While the Press Club does not support any violent forms of protest, it condemns Minister Chandrakant Patil for using the police to intimidate and harass the journalist who was merely doing his duty."
The journalist was initially let go but told to return to the police station at 9 am where he was kept through the day, .
"We are investigating his role," the paper quoted police commissioner Ankush Shinde as saying. "I can’t say anything at this stage."
Wakade's detention led to protests by local journalist associations and condemnation of the minister's accusations, the Indian Express reported. "A number of them gathered at the Chinchwad police station to lend support to Wakade," the daily added.
The minister had asked how Wakade got the "exact angle when the ink was being thrown at me?"
"Who is that journalist? If by tomorrow morning, this journalist is not traced, I will sit on a fast at Pimpri police station,” Patil is reported to have added in remarks captured on camera.