Panaji, Dec 18 (UNI) The controversy over the proposed Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat at Dona Paula Plateau today took a violent turn with several Youth Congress workers injured in a ding-dong battle with followers of the opposing Taleigao legislator Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate.
The incident occurred when the Youth Congress workers, holding placards, took out a rally towards the Taleigao residence of Babush after demonstrating in favour of the IT habitat at Miramar.
As the workers did not heed the police warning and marched ahead towards Babush's residence, the followers of the legislator, holding lethal weapons including swords, lathis and stones, pounced on the demonstrators.
The mob, allegedly led by Babush and city mayor Tony Rodrigues, now in the eye of a storm for opposing the Habitat, later sped away.
Chidambaram Chanekar, Youth Congress secretary, was admitted to Goa Medical College and Hospital with serious injuries. Mr Ashwin Khalap, son of former union minister Ramakant Khalap, was admitted to a private hospital, along with other activists, after sustaining stone injuries.
Condeming the violence, the GPCC general secretary Mr.Vishnu Wagh demanded immediate arrest of Babush and Tony for leading the mob, besides suspension of the Panjim police station inspector Serafin Dias for his 'inaction'.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, accompanied by Home Minister Ravi Naik, visited the hospitals to see the injured. Kamat assured Wagh that he would initiate appropriate action against the concerned persons.
Babush, denied a Cabinet berth after extending support to the crisis-ridden Digambar Kamat government by deserting the BJP-led Goa Democratic Alliance, threatened to intensify the agitation in favour of the Taleigao residents, who were opposing the IT Habitat.
Some of the irate residents resorted to vandalism on December 6 night forcing stoppage of the ongoing works at the project site in Dona Paula Plateau. The locals feel it was nothing but a venture to benefit the realtors lobby.
The government had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident even as Babush vowed to shed his blood if necessary to stop the project, which the Chief Minister claims, was pollution free and providing suitable jobs for Goans.
Kamat was expected to call a meeting of the residents, panchayat members and the legislator for clarifying their apprehensions on the project this week, particularly the objected issue of construction of a mall, theatres and residential complexes.