The activist is facing charges of criminal intimidation under section 506(2) of IPC, which is a non-bailable offence.

Environmental activist Piyush Manush denied bail supporters erupt against unfair targeting
news Environment Friday, July 15, 2016 - 20:15

The bail petition of environmental activist Piyush Manush of the Salem Citizen's Forum was rejected by a Salem Magistrate court on Friday. The police had refused to support his bail application on account of previous cases against him, including a sedition charge.

The activist is facing charges of criminal intimidation under section 506(2) of IPC, which is a non-bailable offence. Manush had chained himself to a road-roller on July 8 to protest the construction of the Mulvadi bridge in Salem.

Manush protested along with two others, alleging that due procedure was not followed. Swifter than ever, the police reached the spot and arrested them under three charges –  disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, Punishment for wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation. Many well-wishers were confident of him getting bail.

“The magistrate court where we filed a bail petition has rejected bail for Piyush alone while two other activists were given bail,” says Vijayan, a member of the Salem Citizen’s Forum.  Piyush has 10-12 cases pending against him, he added, including a sedition case from 2012.

“We honestly believe that this is a vengeful act, and while the chargesheet spells out that 506(2) is a non-bailable offence, the ire he has earned from the local government and police is enough for them to behave like this,” he says. 

Piyush’s lawyer will file a bail petition tomorrow at the District Sessions court. “The major bias that seems to prevail is because he has cases in 3 police stations dating back to 2006 that are pending, and all of these cases had something to with his activism. But we all know that the Superintendent wields the stick and has support from the Commissioner to carry this out. He is being unfairly targeted,” says Mayan. 

He also added that Piyush was tortured while in remand. “He was kept in a high security remand in solitary confinement and was beaten up for a good half an hour before they sent him to remand,” he added. 

The case is set to be heard on Tuesday. Attempts to reach the Commissioner of Police in Salem were in vain.

Meanwhile, friends and fellow activists have stepped up pressure on the police department and TN government to release Manush.

In an email which is being circulated to gather support, activist Kavita Kuruganti is seeking support to exert pressure on the government by sending emails in favour of Manush.

In an email to the Home Secretary of the TN government, Kuruganti writes, “The city's administration including the Police would do very well engaging with people like Piyush who are doing selfless untiring work making enormous personal sacrifices. The police's efforts must be to defuse tensions, and promote the resolution of issues through discussion and dialogue. I request you to instruct the police to support the bail application of the SCF members, and engage with the Salem public on the issue of traffic congestion in Mulvadi Gate to resolve differences. Your detention of activists obviously puts an enormous dent in your credibility and image. Release Piyush immediately please. We urge you to take personal interest in this, intervene immediately and ensure that the citizens' issues are heard out properly and Piyush is out.”

Several activists and supporters have also voiced their protest on social media.