Staff Correspondent

I am still with you, he tells aggrieved people

‘Stir put off because of assurances by Yeddyurappa, Acharya '

MSEZ contractors tried to enter our land on Friday too, say residents

MANGALORE: The head of the Pejawar Math, Visvesha Tirtha Swami, held a public meeting at the Somanatheshwara temple in Permude village on Friday. Residents of the area and members of organisations opposing the second phase of the Mangalore Special Economic Zone project participated in the meeting. He said he would continue to support their cause.

His visit to the village came in the wake of some criticism against him in sections of the media for postponing his fast-unto-death protest against the project for the third time. His latest agitation was scheduled for March 6. He had first announced that he would launch his fast on November 11. It was rescheduled to February 4 and then to March 6.

“I want you to know that I have not succumbed to political pressure as has been alleged in sections of the media,” he said on Friday. He said he had postponed the March 6 agitation after receiving assurances from the Chief Minister and the Home Minister that his demand would be considered.

“I was told that no major decision can be taken when the Assembly session is under way. Under such circumstances, I felt that it is not fair on my part to go on fast. But that does not mean I am not with you,” he said. However, the gathering was irked when he told them that Home Minister V.S. Acharya had told him that most of the notified land was infertile and non-agricultural.

Visvesha Tirtha told the people about the Government's assurance that status quo would be maintained until a final decision was taken on the project. To this, the Kudubi tribal people of Permudetold him that some contractors hired by the MSEZ tried to illegally enter their land even on Friday morning.