One dead in Jaitapur N-plant protests

The protests were against the proposed Jaitapur N-Power Project in Maharashtra`s Ratnagiri district.

Updated: Apr 19, 2011, 10:26 AM IST

Mumbai: One person was killed in police
firing as protests against the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power
plant in coastal Ratnagiri district on Monday turned violent with
agitators setting ablaze a police station.

The man, identified as Tavrez Sejkar, was killed in police
firing at Sakhrinate village when around 600-700 locals
protesting against the proposed 9,900 MW project, attacked the
local police station, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil told
the state Assembly.

He said the agitators stormed the police station when most
officials were on duty at the project site in Jaitapur since
the locals were to stage a demonstration there.

Anger was brewing in the area following Union Environment
Minister Jairam Ramesh`s statement here last Friday ruling out
a "rethink" on the project.

Patil said the protesters were also suspected to have
decamped with some firearms and ammunition.

"A deputy superintendent of police and some constables
have been injured in the incident," Patil said, adding the
violent crowd set afire some police vehicles, forcing the
police to fire in the air to scare the protesters away.

However, as that failed to bring the situation under
control, police fired at the crowd resulting in the death of

The minister`s statement drew angry criticism from the
opposition with Girish Bapat (BJP), Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS) and
Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) accusing the government of not taking
seriously the protests against the proposed facility.

The issue of police firing was raised in the House by Shiv
Sena leader Subhash Desai, who demanded a statement from the

Describing the firing as "shocking", Desai alleged that
the authorities were putting pressure on the locals to accept
the compensation and threatening them with dire consequences
if they refused.

The House had to be adjourned for 10 minutes and later for
the day as the opposition demanded a detailed statement on the

The issue also figured in the Legislative Council where
Revenue Minister Narayan Rane said the protesters tried to
forcibly enter the project site at Jaitapur and were stopped
by the police, leading to stone pelting.

Police had to resort to baton charge and firing to bring
the violent protesters under control, he said.