(Eds: Adding BJP's reaction) Panaji, Oct 3 (PTI) The Congress leaders in Goa, who were arrested after they protested at a hotel demanding that they be allowed to meet Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, will not apply for bail, the party functionary said on Saturday.
Around 15 leaders, including Goa Pradesh Youth Congress Committee chief Varad Mardolkar, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) general secretary Sankalp Amonkar, office bearer Janardan Bhandari and others were arrested around Friday midnight by Goa police after they staged a protest at a five-star hotel, where Javadekar had checked in, police said.
Javadekar is in Goa to attend a series of meetings on the new farm laws on Saturday. The Congress leaders reached the hotel around midnight and demanded to meet the minister over the Mahadayi river water dispute with Karnataka.
A senior police officer said that the leaders were placed under preventive arrest.
GPCC chief Girish Chodankar said, 'The arrested leaders will not apply for bail. They had gone to meet the minister urging him to save Mahadayi river from being diverted illegally by Karnataka.' 'The minister should have explained the Centre's stand on the Mahadayi issue,' he said.
'The river has been diverted by Karnataka in violation of the Supreme Court order and award of Inter State Water Dispute Tribunal,' the Congress leader said.
One of the arrested leaders, Janardan Bhandari said they would continue being in police custody, but will not apply for bail.
'We don't want bail, we want Mahadayi, our mother,' he said.
Goa and Karnataka have been at loggerheads over sharing of the water of Mahadayi river. Inter State Water Dispute Tribunal has declared its award distributing share of water between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra states.
All the three states have petitioned the apex court against the award.
Meanwhile, BJP's Goa unit spokesperson Dattaprasad Naik condemned the Congress' protest, stating that the agitation was held when the entire country was involved in doing something positive to mark Gandhi Jayanti.
The Congress has no right to garland statue of Mahatma Gandhi after what they did on his birth anniversary, he said.
'Javadekar has not come to Goa for a holiday like Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi often do. The minister is here to address farmers,' Naik said, adding that BJP workers have never protested or disturbed the Gandhi family when they were on holiday.
'The law will take its own course, but we demand strict action against all those who behaved in such a manner,' the saffron party spokesperson said. PTI RPS NP ARU ARU