Home > In the Media > Cops bar Jaitapur activists from holding meeting citing prohibitory orders

Cops bar Jaitapur activists from holding meeting citing prohibitory orders

Sandeep Ashar in Times of India

March 7, 2011,

The Ratnagiri police on Sunday barred activists from protesting the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) project onT grounds that “such an event could disturb public tranquility”.

On Sunday morning, representatives from various outfits, who are a part of the project, were to meet in Pawas, which is situated 60 km from the N-plant site. The meeting was organized to discuss police action against some of the activists opposing the project and decide the future course of the movement.

The police action began around midnight on Saturday when three activists, namely Justice (retd) PB Sawant, Justice (retd) BG Kolse Patil and Vaishali Patil, were stopped by the police from entering the Ratnagiri district. The three activists had reached the district border, when the police asked them to refrain from entering. The Rajapur executive magistrate had issued an order last week which imposed restrictions on the movement of the three activists inside the district on grounds that it could disturb peace and tranquility in the region. The order was issued under provisions of Article 144(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The police also detained a few other activists, including Dr Vivek Bhide, Satyajit Chavan, and a retired ACP. , as a prohibitory measure They also staged naka bandis and patrolled railway stations to dissuade locals from attending the meeting, which later had to be cancelled.

Terming the police action as an attempt to “suppress” the voice of the protesters, Justice Sawant (retd) said, “The activists will file a writ petition challenging the prohibitory orders issued against me and two others.” He said, “The Constitution gives everyone the freedom to right to speech and expression.” Pravin Gavankar, another activist, alleged that the action was an attempt by the state machinery to force villagers to withdraw their opposition to the plant.

Pradeep Raskar, superintendent of police, Ratnagiri, defended the action. He said it was needed to maintain law and order. Raskar said that all the actions had been taken in keeping with the law. The orders have affected the protesters’ plans of holding a people’s tribunal at Mithgavane village to highlight “injustice to locals”. The hearings have been put off. . The state administration has been maintaining all possible public consultation steps and fair means had been taken before going ahead with the project, the protesting camp however disagrees with this observation. Meanwhile, there were reports that a delegation of MPs from the Left Parties was likely to visit the site sometime this week and meet the project affected people, these however could not be confirmed.

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