The situation in Ratnagiri district remained tense on Tuesday with the administration imposing curfew to prevent violence.
In Mumbai, the Maharashtra government said a magisterial probe will look into the death of a man in police firing on Monday as well as reports of political conspiracy behind the incident.
Curfew was imposed in the district on Tuesday after fresh incidents of lathicharge outside the Ratnagiri Civil Hospital, where the body of Tabrez Sayekar (30) is kept.
“Relatives of the deceased manhandled the hospital staff who were to perform the post -mortem. They wanted a member of the state minorities commission to be present during the process. But when that didn’t materialise, they got violent,” said Pradip Raskar, superintendent of police, Ratnagiri.
In the assembly on Tuesday, state home minister RR Patil hinted at a Shiv Sena hand in the violence.
“As in any police firing case, there will be a magisterial probe but this probe will also inquire into a political conspiracy behind this agitation. The inquiry will see whether protests were pre-planned for political gains,’’ said Patil.
He said there were intelligence reports that Jaitapur was on the brink on violence, after Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s rally at Madban and environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s clarification that there would be no rethink on the project last week.
Industries minister Narayan Rane, who is from the Konkan region, alleged the Sena had planned the agitation in its meeting on April 12, followed by local meeting on April 17, where a local MLA planned the attack on the plant site.
Patil said Sena’s agitation against Jaitapur was against development and also hypocritical. “On one hand you keep on agitating about load shedding, power deficiency in the state, on the other hand you don’t want any power projects.”
Village in mourning
At Sakhri Nate, 10 km from the site, a village is in mourning. Shireen (26), the wife of Tabrez Sayekar(30) who died in the firing, is numb with shock.
Villagers spoke of the inhuman treatment that the police meted out after Sayekar got injured. “We saw Tabrez being shot and told the police to hand him over to us, so we could take him to the hospital. But the police said they would do so only if the protests stopped,” said neighbour Jamila Shirgaonkar.
“Eventually, they took him in a gunny bag, dumped in the police van and sat putting their legs over him. He was alive when he was taken but dead before admission.”
Another neighbour Afreen (16) asked, “What’s the point of all this protest against the plant when people have to get violent and get killed in the bargain.”
(With inputs from Snehal Rebello)