Skip to main content

Tamil Nadu environmentalist "kept in solitary prison, tortured", Jayalalitha told to ensure his early release

By Our Representative
There is flutter among environmentalists across India over the recent arrest of Piyush Sethia of Salem Citizen's Forum (SCF). While Leo F Saldanha of  Environment Support Group and Sanjeev Kumar of Delhi Forum have written to chief minister J Jayalalithaa to his immediate release, the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has called the arrest arbitrary.
In their letter, Sldanha and Kumar – who have shot the letter in the name of Coalition of Environmental Justice, India – have said that Sethia, a noted environmentalist, has been “arrested, denied bail and beaten inside Salem Central prison”, and “has been booked under IPC sections 341,188, 353 and 506 (2).”
Arrested on July 8, 2016, when he and other members of SCF were protesting against the railway authorities for starting the construction work of Mulvadi gate over-bridge in Salem without giving prior notice to the people in the area and without laying an alternate road, the letter regrets, on July 14, the Salem Magistrate's court dismissed Piyush's bail application, though granted “conditional bail” to the other two activists.
“Piyush has been kept in solitary confinement since the day of his arrest. And as per Piyush's wife and his lawyer, Piyush is being subjected to physical and mental harassment and not allowed to receive reading material or allowed to speak to his wife and other supporters freely”, the letter says.
It adds, “In fact, some of the supporters in Salem are being intimidated and threatened via phone calls to isolate Piyush. According to Piyush's lawyer, Piyush was beaten 'for a good half an hour before they sent him to solitary confinement'.”
On July 15, the letter says, “Piyush informed his lawyer that 'he was abused by a group of unknown persons numbering nearly 30 inside the prison several times'. We are shocked at this high-handedness of prison authorities and custodial assault on Piyush.”
Praising Piyush's work in the field of environmental protection and climate change mitigation, the letter says, SCF is known to have worked for the revival of “many water bodies in Salem city like Mukaneri,Ammapettai eri Kundukkal eri, Ismailkhan eri, Arisipalayam Theppakulam and Pallappatti well.”
Pointing out that Piyush has created “a co-operative forest in Dharmpuri extending upto 150 acres, with the support of his friends and well wishers”, the letter says, “This mountain forest acts as a water catchment area for Ettimarathupatti Canal which supplies irrigation water to 17 villages in the vicinity.”
A receipent of the CNN-IBN award for his activities, Piyush “has also initiated many green and sustainable livelihood projects and protected the Salem, Yercaud and Hoggenekkal Dam areas from environmental damage”, the letter says, adding, “In the recent floods of Chennai and Cuddalore, Piyush and members of SCF, mobilized relief material and tirelessly worked to reach the materials in time.”
In a separate statement, NAPM, which is led by well-known social activist Medha Patkar, says, Piyush's arrest has been made on “completely false charges can only be termed as political vendetta and an action by disgruntled officials who have been irked by several initiates Salem Ciizens Forum has taken over years now.”
Condemning his torture in the prison and refusal to grant him plea, the NAPM has also written to Jayalalitha demanding “immediate release” of Piyush and “action against the officials who are guilty for not following the law and also for inflicting torture on Piyush.”

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.