Curfew was imposed in Ratnagiri district on Tuesday afternoon after fresh incidents of lathi-charge outside the Ratnagiri Civil Hospital, where the body of Tabrez Sayekar, 30, is kept. The curfew will be lifted at 9am on Wednesday.
“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
Collector MB Gaikwad said 200 people gathered near the hospital. “We had to resort to lathi-charge. Now, no person can walk on the street till 9am tomorrow. Right now the situation is peaceful.”
The district also saw a bandh on Monday that was called by the Shiv Sena after Sayekar was killed in a police firing in Sakhri Nate, about 50km from Ratnagiri.
While there were no major incidents reported, the day saw some minor incidents in the form of stone pelting at buses and tyre burning. At various places, roads were blocked. Public transport came to a halt and restaurants and all commercial establishments were also shut.
Meanwhile, the mood at the Sakhri Nate village was tense on Tuesday.
According to residents, Sayekar’s wife Shireen, 26, has gone into shock ever since she found out about her husband’s death.
“We saw Tabrez being shot and told the police to let us take him to the hospital. But the police said they would do so only if the protests stopped,” said Jamila Shirgaonkar, a neighbour. “They took him in a gunny bag, dumped him in the police van and sat on the seats putting their legs over him. He was alive when he was taken but dead before admission.”
Friends and neighbours said Sayekar left home to see the commotion at the Nate police station. Amjad Borkar, who’s been heading the anti-nuke plant protests among the fishing community, said, “While he has been a part of the protests, he was never among those leading them.”
But according to superintendent of police Pradip Raskar, Sayekar was among the frontrunners in the protests on Monday. “Normally, whenever police open firing in the air, it hits some remote person somewhere. But Tabrez was prominently present and was among those who ransacked the police station prior to getting hit from the police firing,” he said.
He also claimed that no policeman had entered anyone’s house. “Villagers entered the police station without provocation,” he said.