Jaitapur nuclear protests: activist leader gets externment notice

Vaishali Patil says administration has been continuously harassing protesters

By Ashwin Aghor
Published: Thursday 19 January 2012

Tension prevails in Jaitapur and nearby villages in the backdrop of the call for Jail Bharo protest on January 24, given by Janhit Seva Samiti. The state government is adopting unprecedented measures to curb the protest.

Social activist and anti-nuclear leader Vaishali Patil has been slapped with a notice for externment from Ratnagiri under the Mumbai Police Act 1951. The Nate police, in Ratnagiri district, issued the notice citing two cases pending in the court against her and ordered Vaishali Patil to appear before the sub-divisional officer of Ratnagiri. 

For the past two years, the collector of Ratnagiri has time and again prevented activists including former judges of Supreme Court P B Sawant and B G Kolse Patil from entering the district by imposing Section 144 (4) of CrPC. This was challenged in the Bombay High Court.  Justice Mohit Shah and Roshan Dalvi upheld the fundamental right of movement and speech granted by the Constitution and held the order of the collector of Ratnagiri as illegal on November 14, 2011.

Despite this, the administration is taking recourse to the Mumbai Police Act of 1951 and has initiated fresh process of externing Vaishali Patil. “In spite of this order the government and police are deliberately harassing and intimidating activists only to curb the non-violent agitation against the Jaitapur nuclear power plant,” says Vaishali Patil.

“The externment order, which is essentially used against thieves, goons and murderers is being used against activists to muzzle free speech and movement and intimidate leaders of the agitation,” says Praveen Gavankar, president of Janhit Seva Samiti.

The process of externment has already been initiated against the sarpanch and deputy sarpanch of Madban, the village in Ratnagiri where the project will be executed. 


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