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Release jailed Chhattisgarh activists, demands Amnesty

Friday June 03, 2011 11:27:16 PM, IANS

Raipur: Amnesty International Friday condemned arrest of two environmental activists in Chhattisgarh and sought their unconditional release immediately.

Police had arrested Ramesh Agrawal and Harihar Patel late last month at state's industrial town Raigarh on a complaint filed by the Jindal group, which has a steel plant in Raigarh town and is building up a 2,400 MW thermal plant at Tamnar in Raigarh district.

Agrawal was Thursday found chained to his bed at the Raigharh district hospital when he was brought there by authorities from district jail after his blood pressure shot up.

"Shackling someone who is ill to a hospital bed is inherently cruel and inhumane punishment that should never have been used on a detainee arrested for peaceful activism," said Madhu Malhotra, Amnesty International's deputy director (Asia-Pacific), according to a statement on the rights group's website.

"It appears that Ramesh Agrawal and Dr Harihar Patel have been targeted for their work to defend the human rights of local communities - we're urging the Chhattisgarh authorities to drop all charges against them and immediately and unconditionally release these activists," she said.

Agrawal's family members alleged that the Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) has been targeting him since last year when the union environment and forest ministry had cancelled terms of reference (ToR) to Jindal's 2400 MW power project on a complaint by Agrawal.

Raman Agrawal, eldest son of the environmentalist, told IANS, that some 40 policemen stormed in his house May 28 morning and arrested his father in an old case.

"My father is actually paying for raising environment-related issues against companies such as JSPL," Raman added.
 





 


 

 

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