Group trying to create disruptions in state involved in Baru protest to defame govt: Fadnavis

Gadchiroli: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that some leaders often seen at agitations are a part of the Barsu refinery protests and they have inputs that a group trying to create disruptions in the state is also playing a role there to defame the state government.

The senior BJP leader was speaking to reporters in Gadchiroli where he replied to queries on the visit of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray to Barsu, the site of the proposed refinery in Ratnagiri district, on May 6 and about allegations that some leaders were barred from entering the area.

Fadnavis said a few locals are protesting against the refinery, while the number of those supporting the project is much more. He said people from outside are being brought to Barsu to stage protests.

The deputy CM, who also holds the home portfolio, said the protests are being held for political gains by using the common man.

While a section of locals is opposed to the petrochemical refinery project at Barsu, the protest intensified on Friday after villagers tried to enter the survey site forcibly. The police used teargas and lathi charge to disperse the crowd, injuring several villagers.

The opposition Shiv Sena (UBT) has come out in support of the local residents and demanded an immediate end to “atrocities” against protesters.

Fadnavis said a group that is trying to create “disruptions” in the state is also playing a role at Barsu to defame the government. They have also identified some people, who are repeatedly seen at agitations, at Barsu, said the minister.

Without naming anyone, the deputy CM said people now know that some leaders are double-faced as on the one hand they sent a letter for the refinery at Barsu and on the other they are protesting against it.

To a query on Thackeray’s remark that no BJP workers were present when Babri Masjid was pulled down, Fadnavis asked where the former was at the time.

“I was there when Babri was being brought down along with thousands of BJP workers. Can Uddhav Thackeray name one Shiv Sena (UBT) worker who was there or say where he himself was then? You did not even move out of Mumbai while we went there and fought. Hence, before saying all these things, first see what you have done,” said Fadnavis.

On the criticism of the Eknath Shinde-BJP government at the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s ‘vajramuth’ (iron fist) rally on Tuesday, Fadnavis called it an event of disappointed people who are out of power. When they say something, it should not be taken seriously, he said.

To a question about Salman Khan’s recent remark that he feels safer in UAE than Mumbai, Fadnavis said that the actor is safe in India and Mumbai. “He has been given full security and I feel Mumbai is the safest city anywhere in the world,” he said.