Piyush Sethia’s bail application was dismissed on 14 July, after police opposed bail citing several cases including sedition against him
Piyush Sethia, convener, Salem Citizen’s Forum. Photo: RG Sasthaa/Mint
New Delhi: Environmental activist Piyush Sethia who was arrested on 8 July at a protest against building the Mulvadi Bridge in Salem, is now facing charges of criminal intimidation under Section 506 (2 ) of IPC, a non-bailable offence.
Sethia’s bail application was dismissed on 14 July by judicial magistrate M. Kalaivani, after police opposed bail citing several cases including sedition against him. Two other protestors, Esan Karthik and Muthu, who were arrested along with him, got conditional bail.
Sethia, convenor of the Salem Citizens’ Forum that has been instrumental in restoring several lakes in Salem district had chained himself to a road-roller at the protest against building the flyover, which he said was being built without adhering to a proper land acquisition process. His supporters include the People’s Union of Civil Liberties and the National Alliance of People’s Movement.
“He has no problem in the flyover being created,” said Suresh Kumar of the Salem Citizens’ Forum, “But when we went and spoke to people in that area if they had got the land acquisition notice, they all said they didn’t know what is happening,” he said, adding that going ahead with construction without adhering to land acquisition guidelines almost inevitably delays a project. “Once the government gives notice and fixes price, some people may not agree and go to court, thereby stalling the process.”
According to the divisional revenue officer of Salem district, the land-acquisition procedure has been initiated already and notices have been sent to land-owners, “He was protesting at the construction site; so, police took action,” he said, adding both the highway department and the railways are engaged in this project.
Kumar alleged Sethia was beaten by the policemen, but two policemen rejected the claim as untrue.