But Mansoor Ali Khan remains behind bars

The two had spoken against the 8-lane Salem Expressway saying that it would lead to loss of agricultural lands.

Five days after his arrest, environmental activist Piyush Manush has been granted bail by the Joint Magistrate of the Omalur sub court in Salem district on Friday. The court, however, dismissed the bail petition of actor Mansoor Ali Khan, who was a co-accused in the case of alleged incitement against the government’s proposed development work in the district.

The FIR filed against them revealed that both Piyush and Mansoor Ali Khan were jailed based on a complaint that statements made by them would incite violence in the local community. As per the complaint filed by the Village Administrative Officer Maari Veerasami of Thumbipadi village, Mansoor and Piyush spoke to people in his village on May 3. They were talking against the expansion of the Salem airport and the 8-lane Salem Expressway because it would lead to loss of agricultural lands.

Mansoor allegedly said, “We should not let the officers take our lands and should be united to oppose them, and if the highway is laid, I will hack 8 people.” The complaint was filed on June 16, more than a month after this speech.

As per reports, Mansoor Ali Khan made provocative speeches in Thumbipadi, Pottiyapuram and Sikkanampatti villages on May 3. Since it was Piyush who had taken the actor to these villages, the Theevattipatti police registered a case against him as well as against the actor. They were arrested under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot); 183 (resistance to taking property by the lawful authority), 189 (threat of injury to public servant); 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) IPC and 7 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

The ‘Chennai-Salem Greenfield Corridor’ under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, a centrally-sponsored and funded road and highways project, is a 277.30 km highway that involves the development of the Tambaram to Harur Section of NH-179B, Harur to Salem Section of NH-179A, Chengalpattu to Kancheepuram Section of NH-132B, Semmampadi to Chetpet Section of NH-179D and Polur to Tiruvannamalai Section of NH-38.

The corridor essentially involves an eight-lane highway connecting the two cities via Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram.