BeyondHeadlines News Desk
RTI and Environmental Activist Ramesh Agarwal was shot by assailants in north Chhattisgarh on last Friday. Injured Ramesh Agarwal is currently in hospital and is out of danger.
Agarwal has accused Jindal steel limited of the attack, however the company had denied the allegations.
Condemning the attack Aruna Roy’s organization MKSS said, the issue cannot rest there; we urge the Chhattisgarh government to bring the assailants to book without further delay.
Ramesh Agrawal and his NGO, the Jan Chetna Manch have for several years now, been opposing the ecological destruction caused by rapid industrialization in the coal rich region of North Chhattisgarh. In the process the organization has repeatedly clashed with thermal power companies such as Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) which has a three million tone steel plant in Raigarh.
In June last year, Mr. Agarwal was imprisoned for two months for supposedly provoking the crowds at a public hearing organized to grant clearance for a 2,400-MW thermal power plant proposed by Jindal Power Ltd. In April however, the JSPL were held accountable when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) cancelled the environmental clearance granted for a four-million-tone per annum coalmine operated by the Jindals, on evidence presented by Jan Chetna Manch to show that that the mandatory public hearing held to clear the project had flouted procedure.
Pledging support to the Jan Chetna Manch the MKSS said, ‘The Jan Chetna Manch has persistently and peacefully opposed powerful interests and made use of democratic tools such as the Jan Sunwai and the Right to Information Act. These voices must be protected, heard and considered seriously. The MKSS expresses its solidarity with Mr. Agrawal and the Jan Chetna Manch, We condemn the violence used against Mr. Agarwal and urge the State Government to arrest the miscreants and the perpetrators. We also urge that the Government of India put in place a Whistle Blowers Act and a system which will prevent such illegal and grave acts of violence in the future.’
Agarwal is currently out if danger but attack on one more environment activist has raised serious concerns about unchecked exploitation of environment and natural resources. The question is can we date to raise our voice against exploiting nature of greedy companies.