Two exceptional human rights and environmental activists, Ramesh Agrawal and Harihar Patel, have been arrested for speaking out against Jindal Steel and Power's major expansion of Tamnar thermal power plant. Agrawal and Patel have been crucial in raising awareness of the mining industry and its irregular practices, in order to protect the interests of the Raigarh District of Chhattisgarh.
Both were detained on May 28th 2011 for speaking out at a June 2010 public hearing against Jindal Steel and Power’s 2,400 MW expansion of a 1,000 MW Tamnar-based thermal power plant. The plant has a long running list of legal and environmental violations—some ranking as serious as failure to get environmental and forest clearance from the government. A public hearing, mandated by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, has been ignored and treated as farce, and the local people have not been consulted on a decision that will impact their livelihoods.
In 2008 Dr. Patel was beaten unconscious by the police at one of such hearings, after JSP goons had dispensed alcohol to company workers and instructed them to start a riot. Now, according to Amnesty International, Ramesh Agrawal, needed urgent medical attention but was instead handcuffed to a hospital bed in a government hospital. This amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Ramesh Agrawal and Harihar Patel will have their cases heard in the High Court the week of June 20th. We have one week to show the high court that they must be freed, and their work is in the interests of the people of Raigharh, the people of India and the world.
Please sign this petition and help us reach 1000 signatures for their immediate release.
Thanks for your support, Samantha Agrawal and Pranav Jani PS. Forward this to your friends, the more people that sign on, the greater our impact.
More information regarding Ramesh Agrawal and Harihar Patel’s arrest: