Cracks appeared among the agitating fishermen outfits as the Maharashtra government claimed that they have withdrawn their stir against the proposed Shivaji Maharaj memorial off the Mumbai coast whose foundation stone will be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.
Earlier, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had tweeted that fishermen have called off their protest against the memorial.
..to constitute a joint committee to resolve their issues.CM thanked fisherman associations.Minister Mahadeo Jankar & MLA Ram Kadam present. pic.twitter.com/4ARJcdn1PQ— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) December 22, 2016
A prominent agitating outfit, Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS), distanced itself from the “agreement” announced after talks between Fadnavis and fishermen associations and said it will go ahead with its protest.
After the meeting on Thursday night, a senior official said “fishermen have agreed to withdraw their agitation against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Bhoomipujan”.
Fadnavis assured the fishermen that the government will look into their concerns. “At the meeting, it was decided to constitute a joint committee to resolve their issues. The CM thanked fishermen’s associations,” the official said.
However, soon after this announcement, AMMKS leader Damodar Tandel said his association was not a part of the agreement.
“The government is trying to split the fishermen. We will continue our protest today by showing black flags and taking out a bike rally from Colaba to Girgaum,” Tandel said.
The livelihood of 1.5 lakh fishermen residing at five villages in South Mumbai, who have 1,500 large boats and 450 small ones, will be affected by the construction, Tandel claimed.
The memorial’s main feature will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore of Mumbai.