Star TV office in Mumbai ransacked

MUMBAI: An irate mob belonging to a little known organisation called Hindu Rashtriya Sena ransacked the Star TV office in Mumbai today, smashing cars parked outside the office and also damaging the office itself. The motive: anger over a programme showing a Muslim youth and a Hindu minor girl who had eloped.

Star News issued a statement condemning the incident: “We condemn this attack on our office by certain anti-social elements. They completely ransacked the Star News Office in Mumbai today, injuring our security & other staff and causing huge financial damage. It is alarming that people are using such means to register their protests. We believe that this is in reaction to our coverage about a young eloped couple from Surat. As a responsible news channel we have factually reported the situations surrounding the same. We will cooperate fully with the authorities to ensure that necessary action is taken.”

Meanhwile, Mumbai Police Commissioner of DN Jhadav said, “A little known group Hindu Rashtriya Sena was behind the attack. We have detained 35 people in the case. We will take all legal action.”

Maharashtra Deputy CM and Home Minister RR Patil promised to get tough against the miscreants stating that "such strict action would be taken against these people (to ensure) that such an action is never repeated."

Star News CEO Uday Shankar, however, remained unconvinced by Patil's assurances. Shankar lambasted the role of the authorities such incidents when he pointed out that such acts were becoming increasingly common because there has never been any serious action taken in the past against any of these groups.

Said Shankar, "The most disturbing part of this whole episode is the kind of intolerance that political groups can resort to and the kind of dispute resolution mechanism that is becoming increasingly popular across India where anything that a media organisation says or prints that is remotely unpalatable to an organisation or individual and you will see their supporters and goons ransacking everything."

Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi also weighed in, terming the attack on Star as an assault on democracy and demanded that the state government bring the culprits to book.

It is worth noting here that on 9 February, 2006, a mob of over 100 Shiv Sainiks, raising slogans of Shiv Sena chief Bal Tackeray, had pelted stones at a Zee News office and had ransacked the property in protest against the telecast of a play on Zee Alpha Marathi channel.

In that attack several Zee News employees were also injured, with a few of them having been rushed to a nearby hospital.

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