Chhatisgarh environmentalist handcuffed to hospital bed news
03 June 2011

Chhatisgarh is rapidly developing an unsavoury reputation for coming down with a heavy hand on civil activists. After the well-recorded travails of tribal activist Binayak Sen, it now emerges that a reputed environmentalist of Chhattisgarh's industrial town Raigarh, Ramesh Agrawal, has been chained to a hospital bed by the police.

Police had arrested Agrawal on 28 May last month on a complaint filed by Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), which has a steel plant in Raigarh and is building a 2,400 MW thermal plant at Tamnar in Raigarh district.

Agrawal's family members claim that JSPL has been targeting him since last year when the environment ministry cancelled terms of reference (ToR) to the Tamnar project on a complaint by Agrawal.

Raman Agrawal, eldest son of the environmentalist, told journalists that some 40 policemen stormed into his house on the morning of 28 May in connection with an old police complaint and put him in jail. He applied for bail, but on Thursday a sessions court rejected his application.

"My father has blood pressure and other serious health problems and he was brought to district hospital today (Thursday) after his health condition deteriorated due to harassment by police. He was chained in his bed at the district hospital. He is actually paying for raising environment-related issues against companies such as JSPL," Raman said.

Local reports say that JSPL was gunning for Agrawal for years for his consistent campaign against environmental pollution in Raigarh.

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Chhatisgarh environmentalist handcuffed to hospital bed