The Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) on Tuesday announced that it will launch an agitation against a proposed oil refinery at Barsu village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district, PTI reported.

The decision follows the detention of 111 protesters, including women on Tuesday, who were opposing the state government’s move to start a land survey for the refinery. The protestors have been booked under sections related to rioting, unlawful assembly, wrongful restrain and disobedience to a public order, reported The Indian Express.

“This is a government with a perverse mentality,” Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said, according to PTI. “They want a Jallianwala Bagh-like massacre. We are with people and the Shiv Sena (UBT) will not sit quietly.”

Police personnel attempt to stop local women of Barsu village on April 25. | PTI.

The Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemical project had earlier been proposed at Nanar village in the Rajapur taluka in 2014. The project came to a standstill because of protests over land acquisition. It was later proposed at Barsu and Solgaon.

However, environmental activists and villagers of Barsu and Solgaon claim that the project would cause large-scale environmental pollution and displace 17 villages in the districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.

On Tuesday, Ratnagiri Superintendent of the Police Dhananjay Kulkarni told The Indian Express that those taken into custody were produced in court, and then released on bail. He also denied claims by protestors that the police had detained over 500 people.

Hrishikesh, a local, told Scroll that the police have also imposed prohibitory orders in the area under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that bans the gathering of four or more persons. He also claimed that many villagers have received notice of “externment”, or temporary banishment from the district.

“Barsu-Solgaon region has a rich biodiversity, serene coastlines and is gifted with thousand-year-old Geoglyphs which can be immensely affected by this dangerous refinery project,” Hrishikesh said. “To instil fear among the protestors, the government is taking vicious steps that violate basic human rights of citizens.”

Refinery site was suggested by Uddhav Thackeray to Centre, admits Sanjay Raut

On Wednesday, Raut admitted that former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had suggested the site at Barsu for a refinery project in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported PTI.

“At that time there must have been no opposition [in Barsu],” Raut said. “But now people are opposing this. If they are of the opinion that they will die but won’t give their land, then the letter [by Thackeray to Modi] counts no value to us.”

Raut’s clarification came after Maharashtra Industries Minister Uday Samant had accused Thackeray of double standard and deliberately creating misunderstandings about the project for political mileage.