A day after environmental activist Piyush Manush was arrested in Salem, TNM has accessed a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) filed against him.
The document reveals that both Piyush and actor Mansoor Ali Khan have been put behind bars 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. However, the complaint was filed more than a month later on June 16.
Maari says that he had gone to visit another officer by the name of Arul Mozhi when he noticed a group gathered near the the Mariamman temple in the Thumbipadi village.
"That day a few people whose names were unknown to me were standing near the Mariamman temple near Thumbipadi. They were opposing expansion of the Salem airport and the 8-lane Salem Expressway because it would lead to loss of agricultural lands. They brought Piyush Sethia (Piyush Manush) and Mansoor Ali Khan to speak to us. Mansoor said we should not let the officers to take our lands and should be united to oppose them, and if the highway is laid, he will hack 8 people," the complaint said.
The complainant alleged that a few others, inspired by Mansoor Ali Khan's speech were later heard talking among themselves about killing people and inciting riots.
Following the complaint, Mansoor Ali Khan was arrested on Sunday.
The police arrested Piyush on Monday evening. The activist had launched a ‘Saleme Kural Kodu’ movement and was coordinating with the people of villages surrounding the airport to raise their voice against the expansion. He had organised meetings of the local people for this.
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.
Piyush is accused No. 1 in the case and the actor is accused No. 2.
They have been 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) 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.
Farmers of Poolavari, Nilavarapatti, Naazhikkalpatti, Kuppanur and Achankuttapatti villages have already expressed concern with locals from the last village even blocking Revenue Department officials from surveying the land that had to be acquired.