Shiv Sainiks storm Times Of India office, damage reception

More than 50 angry Shiv Sena activists Saturday afternoon stormed the Time Of India heritage building here and damaged computers, furniture, fittings and other items in the reception area of the newspaper's office in south Mumbai.

There were no casualties in the incident even as police swiftly moved in and detained over a dozen Sena activists involved in what has been termed as yet another attack on the media.

The attackers pelted stones and attacked the reception area with sticks and threw some pamphlets protesting at the news published in the Marathi newspaper of the group.

Reacting to the incident, Home Minister R.R. Patil "strongly condemned" the attack and assured strict action would be initiated against the perpetrators.

Patil said that so far 16 people have been nabbed by police and the attackers have been recorded on the CCTV installed in the Times office.

“They will be booked under non-bailable offences and stringent action will be taken against them, as well as those behind them,” he said.

Famous as the Times Of India building on D.N. Road, all the offices of the publishing group are located in the sprawling complex, opposite the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

The activists were protesting a report published in Maharashtra Times, the Marathi language daily of the ToI Group, speculating that Shiv Sena MP from Amravati, Anandrao
Adsul, was allegedly planning to defect to the Nationalist Congress Party.

Adsul and his son legislator Abhijit, as well as another party MP and "Saamna" editor Sanjay Raut indirectly supported the attack on the grounds that the activists were provoked in view of baseless and unconfirmed reports published by the Maharashtra Times.

Raut, a professional journalist, said that the media should behave in a "responsible" manner and not resort to publishing reports which tarnished the reputation of respectable persons in public life.

“How will they compensate for tarnishing his (Adsul’s) image in the eyes of the people, built after years of struggle?” Raut demanded.

Later, Abhijit Adsul attempted to shirk off the responsibility for the attack, saying the attackers did not belong to the party and could have been ordinary people.

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