Ratnagiri/Mumbai: Rampaging Shiv Sainiks ransacked a district hospital and torched a few buses on Monday as the party called for a bandh in Ratnagiri against police firing that claimed the life of one of the locals protesting the controversial Jaitapur nuclear power project.
      
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh accused the Shiv Sena of "politicising" the Jaitapur issue and said what happened there was "most depressing" and that it caused
him "great anguish." He hoped that issues surrounding the project could be discussed in a peaceful manner.
      
Meanwhile, the Congress has suggested that there could be a conspiracy behind the anti-nuclear power project agitation in Jaitapur and cautioned people against "attempts by forces
inimical to India's economic growth".

Prohibitory orders were promulgated under Section 144 CrPC in the coastal Ratnagiri district when the bandh turned violent after protesters resorted to arson.

Angry protesters vandalised the district civil hospital where the post-mortem of the police firing victim Tabrez Abdul Sayanekar was to be conducted, set afire a few state transport corporation buses and some vehicles and also burnt tyres to block Ratnagiri-Kolhapur highway, police said. Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the protesters.
 
Tabrez was killed in police firing at Sakhrinate village when around 600-700 locals protesting against the project, attacked the local police station.

The body of Tabrez has not been claimed so far by his kin and locals, who are demanding an announcement by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for scrapping the project.

The Shiv Sena delegation also demanded that postmortem of Sejkar be videographed and conducted in presence of members of 'Manvadhikar Sameeti.'

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray warned that the state's Congress-NCP government will have to pay a "heavy price" for police firing.

Condemning the police firing, the CPI(M) demanded an immediate halt to the project in the light of the crisis which has developed in some of the nuclear power reactors in Japan.

Maha vows to implement N-project

Vowing to go ahead with the controversial 9,900-MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Ratnagiri district, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday ordered a probe into Monday's police firing in the area that claimed the life of one protestor.

Home Minister RR Patil informed the state assembly that it would also probe whether the agitation against the plant was 'politically motivated and a pre-planned conspiracy'. He also declared that the government was open to discussing 'contentious issues' and bring a solution.

'An inquiry shall also be conducted to ascertain if the violent protest at the JNPP site and the attacks on Nate Police Station were politically motivated or part of a pre-planned conspiracy,' a grim Patil said.

At the same time, Patil declared that the government would go ahead with the JNPP which is fully financed by the Central government.

BJP for debate on N-energy

Meanwhile, BJP has expressed concern over the agitation in Jaitapur and maintained since the nuclear issue has several aspects there was a need for a debate on it.

"Post-Fukushima, the nuclear issue is a matter of great concern. Moreover, the Jaitapur issue is also related to the environment," said BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

He was referring to the damage to Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan after the recent Tsunami and earthquake there. The incident had imperiled the lives of several locals
who had to be evacuated from the area.

"Ratnagiri is still tense. This is definitely a matter of concern. There is a need for a debate on this issue," Rudy said.

JPN/Agencies