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MNS GOONS' 'REFINED' VANDALISM CONVEY DISPLEASURE OVER REFINERY PROJECT

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
By Dev Kotak. Photographs by Trupti Arekar

The MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) goons were back to their usual means of proving their ‘dadagiri’ as they resorted to violent means to prove a point, yet again. This time it was to convey their vehement displeasure and opposition towards setting up of India’s largest refinery and petroleum complex in Nanar in Ratnagiri district. What was new this time around was the fact that they brought ‘nariyals’ or coconuts (believed to be auspicious before kicking off big events) to damage the office premises.  

As the adage goes, if you turn violent you will be heard, holds true for workers belonging to the party as five men barged into the Mumbai-registered Nanar Oil Refinery office (Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd) in Tardeo on Monday at 3:15 pm. They first enquired if they were at the correct address and then started targeting furniture and fittings, glass doors, cabins and other things inside the office even as the security guards attempted to stop them, but in vain.

While only two cabins and some air-conditioners were damaged, the scale of damage was confined to the reception area as the lobby’s door leading to other offices and cabins was locked.  

Nobody was harmed as some employees were inside while some were not in office at the time of the incident.

The ransacking comes  after MNS President Raj Thackeray in public declared that his party would not permit the Nanar project to come up in the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra.

A police official was even seeing taking measurements of the impacted offices in order to assess the damage caused.

When this reporter reached the spot, the police were seen conducting panchnama and a FIR had already been lodged with Tardeo Police Station.   

While no arrests have yet been made in the case, the cops present at the spot said further investigation was underway.  

The Rs 3-trillion project is likely to displace a large section of farmers, has been opposed by conservationists, NGOs and anti-nuclear activists, fearing environmental degradation in the eco-sensitive zones of the Konkan region.  Workers belonging to the Raj Thackeray-led party even threatened, heckled and assaulted the watchman Kishore Borse, who stopped the men from making way into the other offices in the corridor.  

Besides Raj, Shiv Sena chief and cousin Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan and host of other political bigwigs from the state have opposed the mega refinery project.

A police official said that those responsible for the attack on office targeted the company premises because that was the only registered one in Mumbai and directly bore the brunt of their fury as a result.

Sachin Gode, General Secretary MNS, has claimed responsibility for the attack and has surrendered along with the others to the Tardeo police.

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