The Bombay High Court Wednesday ordered the state government to file a report within 24 hours on the attack on two prominent social activists in Raigad Tuesday.
A division bench of Justice F.I. Rebello and Justice A.A. Sayed gave the order during the hearing on attacks on social activists, including the killing of Pune RTI activist Satish Shetty, which came up before the court.
“The judges suo moto passed the order and asked the state government to file an affidavit in the matter (of yesterday’s attack) before them in 24 hours,” said non-governmental organization (NGO) MITRA chief Sumaira Abdulali.
Sumaira was one of the two people attacked by alleged members of the sand mafia in Raigad.
Recounting the incident, Sumaira said she had gone along with local activist Naseer Jalal and a media team to 41-km-long Bankot Creek that runs from the Arabian Sea right up to Mahad, the foothills of the Sahyadri mountains in Raigad, around 150 km from Mumbai.
“The area is like the Sunderbans with many crocodiles, migratory birds, a rich marine life and tall mangroves measuring around 15 feet. But it is being destroyed by the sand miners who are flouting the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) and operating without proper checks,” she told IANS.
When the group returned after surveying the environs, it was accosted by at least five people in an SUV.
After an argument in which one of the persons claimed to be “the owner” of the creek, the activists and the media team left, Sumaira added.
Soon afterwards, three vehicles rammed into vehicles carrying the two activists and another carrying the Mumbai media team, and more than 15 people attacked the vehicles.
The traffic police reached the place after some time but the attackers continued threatening them, shouting abuses and claiming that they had “bought” the creek for Rs.280 million and nobody could stop them from sand-dredging there.
The police later escorted the two vehicles to Mahad police station where a complaint was lodged of criminal intimidation, rioting and attempt to murder.
After the complaint, a district police escort accompanied the activists and the media team to enable them to reach Mumbai safely, Sumaira said.