On Wednesday, 14 activists scaled Essar's 21-storey headquarters and draped the building with a banner. 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.
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," says Dirender Mulkalwar. A music composer from Mumbai, Mulkalwar also works for a local environment NGO. He says that he participated in this unique yet challenging protest to draw the nation's attentions towards companies like Essar and Veerappa Moily who want to trample on the livelihoods of people living in forests.
Kripanath Yadav, member of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) and a resident of Amelia village in the Mahan forests of Singrauli says, "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 a 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."
Greenpeace demands Essar to cancel their proposed coal mine in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh and seeks the resignation of Minister of Environment and Forest, Veerappa Moily from the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
Live visuals available at www.junglistan.org
For further information, please contact:
Priya Pillai, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +91-7738599764,
Brikesh Singh, Head, Public Engagement, Greenpeace India, +91-9880092210,
Jagori Dhar, Senior Media Officer, Greenpeace India, +91-9811200481,