Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Environmental activist Piyush Sethia was arrested today in Salem and charged with sedition. Salem is a city and a corporation in Salem district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located in the north central part of the southernmost state of India.

The charge is a non-bailable offense with a maximum sentence of life in prison. Piyush was arrested while passing out a simple pamphlet (translated after the article below below) at a Republic Day rally.

The following is from Express News Service.

Environmental activist held

SALEM: Noted environmental activist Piyush Sethia, founder of Speak Out Salem, was arrested on Tuesday when he tried to mobilise awareness against Operation Green Hunt at the Republic Day function venue.

Detailing the negative fallouts of Operation Green Hunt launched by the Central government against the Maoists, a handbill pointed out that lakhs of tribals were being displaced in the name of flushing out Maoists. It also made angry references to Union Minister P Chidambaram and questioned the spirit behind the Republic Day celebrations.

According to Inspector Kennedy, Sethia entered the Gandhi stadium, where the Republic Day celebrations were being held. There, he started to distribute handbills to visitors, which the police said were inflammatory in nature and were against the conduct during a Republic Day celebration.

Sethia maintained that he did not enter the stadium and denies distributing any handbill to visitors. He said he was giving a handbill to a police inspector, who was also a friend, when another inspector, Annadurai (City Intelligence Service), snatched it away. Sethia said he was then assaulted and taken to the Hasthampatti police station.

The Hasthampatti police have booked cases under non-bailable charges of sedition and the Tamil Nadu Public Area Disfigurement Act. Taking exception to the arrest, activists and lawyers are mobilising legal support to ensure his release.

After the handbill distribution, Sethia had planned to go on a cycle campaign up to Sivagangai (P Chidambaram's constituency) to create awareness against Operation Green Hunt.


Government of India: Stop the War

P.Chidambaram, who in order to pander to the imperialist designs of Tata,
Essar, Mittal, Vedanta, has destroyed 644 villages, and made 3 lakh Indian
refugees in their own land.

India is becoming Africa

Chattisgarh is where this sorry state of affairs prevails.

Under such circumstances, is it the celebration of Republic Day justified?

The Right to Life of Citizens of the country is a big question mark.

The Republic Day is a day when the state reaffirms its intent to safeguard
the democratic rights of Indian citizens. However, on this day, the Central
Government has, in the name of battling the naxalites, armed some adivasis
organised as the Salwa Judum. Further, in the name of Operation Greenhunt,
Mr. P. Chidambaram and his cabal have caused more than 5000 adivasi women to
be raped. More than 2.5 lakh adivasis have been forced to escape into the
forests to safeguard their lives. Further, more than 50,000 adivasis from
Chattisgarh are living as refugees in Andhra Pradesh.

Further, the Supreme Court has ordered the Central and State Governments to
restore to the more than 300,000 adivasis from 644 villages their homes and
villages, and to facilitate their return to their home villages. But despite
this, the Governments have done nothing to obey the Supreme Court order. Why
this illegal act? Where are the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the

On this day, (26th January), what guarantees are being extended by the
Indian state to Adivasis?

Is it the intent of the Indian Government merely to hand over land to Tatas,
Essar and Vedantas, and enrich them?

At a time when farmers have underlined their problems by committing
suicides, by snatching away agricultural lands and handing it over to the
rich, are you declaring that this is the face of progress?

We will raise our voices against it.

On 26 January, we will undertake a cycle rally via Sivagangai (Chidambaram's
constituency) to Chennai.

Campaign for Justice and Peace. 14A, 5th Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600

Contact: 9443248582

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