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Activist alleges harassment in Jaitapur area

Special Correspondent

Outsiders barred from entering

MUMBAI: The Ratnagiri district administration, which has clamped prohibitory orders in the Jaitapur nuclear power project area, is preventing outsiders from entering the area even for public meetings, according to social activist Gopal Dukhande.

Expressing solidarity

He said that at a meeting to express solidarity with the people of Japan in Mithgavane village on March 25, the police were present in large numbers.

“They harassed me and prevented me from entering the village,” he told The Hindu over phone.

Mr. Dukhande said he hailed from the Konkan and was living in Sawantwadi and had the right to go anywhere he wanted to.

While he managed to attend the meeting and even make a speech, he said, the administration gave permission for conducting the meeting just half-an-hour before it was to begin.

Conditions imposed

The letter from the sub-divisional magistrate said the permission was granted on certain conditions — the meeting should be held between 4 p.m. and 5.30 pm; no inflammatory speeches should be made or offensive slogans raised; and only people from Madban, the project site, and nearby areas should attend.

Mr. Dukhande said that as a citizen he had the right to move freely in the country and the government could not impose such arbitrary conditions.

In the past, two retired judges and some activists were barred from entering the Jaitapur project area, Mr. Dukhande claimed.

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