Jaitapur N-row: Violent protests rock Ratnagiri, Govt orders probe

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 23:56

Ratnagiri/Mumbai: A district hospital was
ransacked and a few buses were torched on Tuesday in violence
during the Shiv Sena bandh in Ratnagiri against police firing
that claimed the life of one of the locals protesting the
controversial Jaitapur nuclear power project.



Maharashtra government ordered a magisterial probe into
yesterday`s firing at the project site even as Home Minister
and NCP leader R R Patil hinted at a Shiv Sena conspiracy
behind the protests against the proposed 9,900 MW nuclear
plant. Fresh protests were also reported from the area today.



Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh accused the
Shiv Sena of "politicising" the Jaitapur issue and said that
what happened there was "most depressing" and that it caused
him "great anguish." He hoped that issues surrounding the
project could be discussed in a peaceful manner.
Patil while ordering the magisterial inquiry also made
it clear that the probe would look into whether the violent
protests at the plant site and the attack on Sakhrinate police
station was "politically motivated and part of a pre-planned
conspiracy."



Patil, who made the announcement in the state Assembly,
however did not name anyone but voiced the government`s
resolve that the project sees the light of the day. The
project with six nuclear rectors of 1,600 MW each when built
will be world`s largest nuclear plant.



The Congress while suggesting that there could be
a conspiracy behind the anti-nuclear power project agitation
in Jaitapur cautioned people against "attempts by forces
inimical to India`s economic growth".
Prohibitory orders were promulgated under section 144
CrPC in the coastal Ratnagiri district when the bandh turned
violent after protesters resorted to arson.



Angry protesters vandalised the district civil hospital
where the post-mortem of the police firing victim Tabrez Abdul
Sayanekar was to be conducted, set afire a few state transport
corporation buses and some vehicles and also burnt tyres to
block Ratnagiri-Kolhapur highway, police said. Stones were
also pelted at the hospital.



Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the
protesters.



Tabrez was killed in police firing at Sakhrinate
village when around 600-700 locals protesting against the
project, attacked the local police station.



The body of Tabrez has not been claimed so far by his
kin and locals, who are demanding an announcement by Chief
Minister Prithviraj Chavan for scrapping the project.



The crowd, which had started collecting outside the
hospital since this morning, grew restive as the day wore on
and ransacked a portion of the government hospital.



Shops were shut and most vehicles were off the roads.
during the bandh.



Senior Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar, along with MLAs
Bharat Gogawale, Sadanand Chawan and Parshuram Uparkar met the
Superintendent of Police and District Collector and demanded
that the local revenue official (Prant) Ajit Pawar, who had
ordered police firing, be suspended and charged with murder.



According to Home Minister Patil, firing orders were
given as a "last resort."

The Shiv Sena delegation also demanded hat postmortem of
Sejkar be videographed and conducted in presence of members of
`Manvadhikar Sameeti.`



Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray warned
that the state`s Congress-NCP government will have to pay a
"heavy price" for police firing.



"It is time for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to
pack up and go home," Thackeray said.



Congress pokesperson Manish Tewari said the death of a
person in police firing or otherwise is always regrettable and
no party sensitive towards peoples`s aspirations will ever
condone it.



"But what has to be seen is whether the agitation was
based on some real concerns or completely imaginery concerns
are being stoked by vested interests," he said in New Delhi.



Condemning the police firing, the CPI(M) demanded an
immediate halt to the project in the light of the crisis which
has developed in some of the nuclear power reactors in Japan,



Accusing Shiv Sena of making him "khalnayak" in the
Jaitapur episode, Ramesh said looking into the environmental
aspects of the project is the only mandate of his Ministry and
maintaining law and order is the responsibility of the state
government.



"Shiv Sena has a long track record of politicising all
issues. This is the same Shiv Sena, which vowed to throw the
Enron Project in the Arabian Sea in 1993 if I recall right.
But when they came to power in 1995, they went out of their
way to give approval," the Minister told reporters in New
Delhi while reacting to a question on Shiv Sena`s allegations
against him.



BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said nuclear power
generation is subject to a major debate in the country now and
tht issues post-Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan is a matter
of concern.



PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 23:56

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