In a final crackdown on the Tarapur-to-Jaitapur yatra, the police arrested 13 activists on the last day of the three-day campaign. The yatra could not reach Jaitapur because of persistent detentions of demonstrators at every step. On Monday demonstrators were held from Mahad, Raigad district, and booked under bailable offences.
“They were arrested from Shivaji Chowk after they had garlanded Shivaji's statue. They had staged a rally. So, we booked 13 of them, including activist Vaishali Patil, under Section 37 (3) of the Bombay Police Act [prohibiting assembly or procession]. It's a bailable offence. The process to release the demonstrators on bail is on,” the Raigad police said.
“Prohibitory orders have been imposed in the district and we have arrested them in violation of law,” R.D. Shinde, Superintendent of Police, Raigad, told The Hindu.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party was allegedly behind the violence in Jaitapur, was allowed to go to the affected Sakhri Nate village in Ratnagiri district. Mr. Thackeray visited the family of Tabrez Sayekar who was killed in the police firing.
Mr. Thackeray sought an explanation from the government for Mr. Sayekar's death. He reiterated his party's opposition to the nuclear power project.
“The Shiv Sena will continue to oppose the project. The government is answerable to the people for the death of Tabrez Sayekar,” he told journalists. He also criticised Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh for “changing his stand” on the issue.
Asked why the government, which cited security concerns over the yatra, had allowed Mr. Thackeray to visit Sakhri Nate despite his party's role in giving a violent turn to the agitation, the State remained evasive.
“He [Mr. Thackeray] did not go to Jaitapur. He went to Sakhri Nate. We have to think of all aspects. The fact that there was no trouble on his visit means the decision was right. Why do they [activists] want to go to Jaitapur at this point,” the official asked.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan held a review meeting of all departments concerned to take stock of the situation in Jaitapur.
“The situation there is peaceful now,” officials said.
“It was a review meeting held due to certain issues in Jaitapur. The immediate issue now is of safety. The State's stand is clear even now, that we should go ahead with the project. A massive awareness programme needs to be undertaken to bring out the true facts. There is no change in the State's stand. We want to ensure that everybody comes along,” State Environment Secretary Valsa Nair Singh, who was present at the meeting, told The Hindu.