Courtesy DNA: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_jaitapur-villagers-regret-sena-intervention_1534282

 

 

As the ruling Congress-NCP accuses the Shiv Sena for ‘politicising’ the movement against the proposed 9900 MW nuclear power plant at Jaitapur, villagers against the project expressed unhappiness at the hijacking of their otherwise peaceful movement by the Shiv Sena that resulted in violence and police brutality on Monday and Tuesday.

They insisted that their movement did not have any political backing.

‘’This movement began without support from any political parties. We welcome everyone who wants to help us, but that does not mean we work for that group of people or party,” said Pravin Gavhankar of the Janhit Seva Samiti, one of the organisations spearheading the movement against the project. “We have always maintained our distance from the Sena and are not working under them,” he added.

Villagers reveal that the movement against the project has been going on for a few years and gained strength only because of the villagers’ loyalty to the cause. They say the Sena only became active when the movement gained sizeable support from the masses.

Taufir, from Sakhri Natye village, that has been at the centre of all anti-project activities over the years, agreed. “We are not with any party and are not working under any leader. We do not want the project and that’s it,” he said.

The villagers distanced themselves from violence that has crept into their once peaceful protest. “Violence did occur in the movement, but we are never in support of it,’’ said Amjad Borkar, leader of the fisherman community in Sakhri Natye village.

Villagers reveal that the protest that broke out on Monday morning was initiated by local Sena activists, aided by around 300 villagers from Madban, Mithgavhane and Niweli.

The protesters forcibly entered the proposed site of the plant in order to stop construction work on the boundary wall. However, protests during the district bandh on Tuesday and at Sakhri Natye village were largely initiated by agitated villagers without any leadership. Villagers said they voluntarily decided to protest on the road to show that they were determined to stop the project from going ahead.

Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday released a statement slamming the criticism of the Sena. ‘’Where were these media houses when people of Jaitapur were beaten up. We held a mammoth rally there to extend our support. At that time media was busy covering Anna Hazare. I am keeping a close watch on all the happenings in Jaitapur,’’ said Thackeray.