Days after Maharashtra Conservation Minister Tanaji Sawant blamed crabs for the breach in a dam in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri that killed 18 people, workers of the Nationalist Congress Party threw a crate of crabs at the minister’s home as a mark of protest.
A video of the protest, tweeted by ANI, showed protesters wearing crab masks on their faces and posters on their bodies with photos of crabs that read “What is my fault? I am innocent.”
Soon, the protesters unpacked a crate and threw crawling crabs towards the minister’s door.
This comes close on the heels of NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik attacking Sawant, a Shiv Sena leader, saying, “Don’t blame crabs as you defend a big corrupt fish. A judicial probe must be carried out into the entire episode and the guilty MLA must be punished.”
The dam, located in Chiplun tehsil of coastal Ratnagiri district, breached late Tuesday night amid torrential rains, flooding seven downstream villages.
Sawant had hinted that the incident could be a fallout of torrential rains in the dam’s catchment area. “In just eight hours, 192 mm rainfall was recorded in the catchment area of the dam. As per my information, the water level of the dam increased by eight metres in eight hours. The villagers wonder whether it was due to a cloudburst,” he said.
“It was a tragedy, but I think you cannot change your fate. Whatever is going to happen, will happen. It was a kind of natural calamity,” he said.
When asked about whether the repair works of the dam was shoddy, he said, “We realised it only when water started accumulating in the dam.”
Last year, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan had stirred up a controversy after he attributed a major breach in the right wall of the Mutha canal in Pune, which had inundated parts of the city, to rats, other rodents and crabs.
“The canal wall caved in as rats, rodents and crabs had been gnawing away at it, burrowing holes in the walls foundation,” he had said.
(with PTI inputs)