Originally published on August 9, 2014, at ForceChange.com
Target: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Goal: Free peaceful activists who were trying to protect forest from coal mining
Two Greenpeace activists have been arrested in India while protecting the Mahan forest from coal mining. Government officials detained two of the peaceful activists while confiscating several pieces of communication and power equipment. The activists have not been charged with an official crime, yet remain in detention.
In collusion with the coal mining industry, local government sent police officers into the forest of Mahan to arrest two Greenpeace activists working with local communities. Without a search warrant, the police entered their house at midnight and arrested the activists. The arresting officers accused them of being a general nuisance and disrupting the Mahan villagers.
The police also confiscated their solar panels, batteries, and booster signal. Since areas like Mahan have almost no electricity or mobile connectivity, the police have effectively eliminated their ability to operate in the region. Through basic intimidation, law enforcement seeks to silence activists protesting against the detriment of coal mining.
Essar, one of the coal mining corporations in the area, has filed lawsuits asking the courts to prevent Greenpeace or anyone else from speaking out against the coal mines in Mahan. Greenpeace India has openly stated that the local police department is working in collusion with the coal mining industry and arresting their activists in an attempt to silence dissent.
By signing the petition below you will help urge the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to release these peaceful activists and hold both coal mining corporations and local law enforcement accountable for their actions.
Dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Release the two Greenpeace activists who have been imprisoned without any charges. Their only crime is concern for the environment and the ecological impacts coal mining will have on the residents of the Mahan forest. They deserve to be released and their equipment returned to them.
You also need to begin an investigation into your law enforcement officials for arresting these activists under false pretenses and basically taking orders from the coal mining industries operating within the Mahan forest. If your police officers are susceptible to open corruption, they should be fired and arrested before they are allowed to do more damage to the community.
Prove to the eyes of the world that India is above imprisoning environmental activists without charges. Peaceful activists attempting to save the planet do not deserve to be wrongfully imprisoned. It is within your power to save the people who are trying to save us all.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Salvatore Barbera via Flickr