Nanar, Aarey: panel for withdrawal of cases against protesters

Mumbai, Dec 3 (PTI) The Maharashtra government has set up a high-level committee to examine cases registered in connection with protests against Nanar refinery and Aarey Colony Metro carshed projects.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced that cases against protesters who opposed these two controversial projects would be withdrawn.

Accordingly, a five-member committee, headed by additional chief secretary, Home Department, was set up, an official said on Tuesday.

The Home Department on Monday issued a Government Resolution (order) setting up the committee, which will include the Director General of Police, Mumbai Police Commissioner and Principal Secretaries of Home and Law & Judiciary departments.

The committee will send its report with recommendations to the state government, following which cases will be withdrawn as provided under section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, he said.

Local people had strongly opposed a planned multi- billion dollar refinery at Nanar in coastal Ratnagiri district, saying it will cause ecological damage.

The Shiv Sena, led by Thackeray, had supported the protesters.

The refinery project was to come up over 14,000 hectares across 14 villages, but later the then BJP-led government announced that it would be shifted elsewhere.

Recently, Mumbai police had booked at least 38 protesters under IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty) and 143 (unlawful assembly) during protests against cutting of trees for construction of a carshed for Mumbai Metro in the leafy Aarey Colony.

Twenty-nine protesters, including six women, were arrested and later released on bail. The Sena had come out in support of the protesters, though it was partner in the government. PTI DC KRK KRK