Mumbai: After spending 24 hours in police detention, all 67 enviromental activists, who were detained on Wednesday night for protesting at Essar’s Mumbai headquarters have been granted bail by a Sub Divisional Magistrate's court on Thursday.
On Wednesday, 14 activists scaled Essar’s 21-storey headquarters and draped the building with a banner that said: ‘We kill Forests: Essar’.
They were joined by villagers from Mahan forests in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh and youngsters from Mumbai, who staged a dharna at the building’s gate to protest against Essar’s proposed coal mine in Mahan forests.
The activists were protesting against the proposed destruction of forests in Singrauli district. Essar Power has been allotted coal blocks in Mahan. Pic/AFP
Of the 14 climbers who scaled the building, six were suspended from the building for more than five hours and hauled up by a fire department crew. All 67 protestors, which included 14 climbers, 27 people from Mahan, senior Greenpeace campaigner Priya Pillai and youngsters from Mumbai were detained at the Tardeo police station in South Mumbai in the evening.
“It was an out-of-body experience to be scaling and then hanging at that height for more than five hours. But our action was driven by passion to save our forests and the determination to expose Essar on their violations in Mahan,” said Dirender Mulkalwar, a music composer from Mumbai who also works for a local environment NGO.
Kripanath Yadav, member of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) and a resident of Amelia village in the Mahan forests of Singrauli said, “Essar wants to deprive us of our homes and livelihoods. They won’t bring about development by destroying the natural assets of the country. Spending 24 hours inside police station has made us all the more resolute and we want to tell Essar that we stand up for our rights and continue our fight against their brutality.”
The activists had been demanding that Essar cancel their proposed coal mine in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh and had also sought the resignation of Minister of Environment and Forest Veerappa Moliy.