NEW DELHI: Nikhil Wagle, a senior Marathi journalist and a television news anchor who become the Managing Editor at the age of 19 and later become the Editor –in-Chief of Dinank, is now under direct threat from the right wing Sanatan Sanstha for his views on the anti superstition bill.

Wagle, who has also brought out more than 80 books in the capacity of a publisher, is fearless. He is also a well known face on television having anchored several news programs. Speaking exclusively to The Citizen, Wagle said that he is not going to be intimidated by such threats. He has turned down an offer by the Maharashtra government to offer him protection, after the prime suspect in the murder of CPI leader Govind Pansare, revealed that Wagle was his next target.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: Had you been receiving threats from Sanatan Sanstha ?

A: Yes. I have been getting threats for the past four years from the people of Sanatan Sanstha.

Q: Why are you getting threats from them ?

A:It all started with a television show. I invited guests to discuss the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. This is a criminal law act for the state of Maharashtra, India, originally drafted by anti-superstition activist and the founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), Narendra Dabholkar. Dabholkar and the spokesperson of the Sanatan Sanstha was invited for the show. While we were in the middle of the discussion the spokesperson of the Sanstha Samir Gaikwad got very angry and left the show. He published my mobile phone number in his newspaper the next day. And since then I am getting calls threatening me with dire consequences.

Q . Were you worried then? And now? You have turned down the offer of security from the Maharashtra govt?

A: I was never worried. It never affected me. The police should be worried about putting such people into jail. They should look at it. Why should I get affected by this. They do not know what Hinduism is – they just shout and talk. I consider it the most cowardly act, to threaten and kill people. Hindu religion preaches peace and tolerance not violence and killing., They have no time to explore Hinduism. They have time to do all kind of things than exploring the real religion. I dealt with them earlier and even now. The police need to deal with them. They are the real terrorists. Police need to find out who is funding them ? how do they get the money to carry on with such activities? There are many aspects that needs investigation.

Q . What is going on in this country? With these targeted assassinations do you think reason is losing the fight?

A: The threats were there even earlier during the regime of Congress, however they have got strength during this regime of Modi. Dabholkar was killed during Congress-NCP government. Police should take action against these poisonous, vicious people . I do not need protection. I am an ordinary journalist and I will continue with my work. Police need to do their work. I am not saying that they are linked to RSS. However, a little study in the pattern of functioning shows that there is a clear link. The lawyer who fought for Hindu Rashtra Sena is representing Samir Gaikwad. This is just a reference but if paid attention one could see that there are enough links to understand and point out.

Q . You have been a journalist for long and have been attacked earlier by right wing forces as well? Do you think independent courageous journalism is at the end of the road now?

A: Journalists are getting threats and they are carrying on with work. It is a democratic country and no one should be fearful of whatever they want to pursue even if the environment is not conducive.