As the countdown to the Gram Sabha begins, the tactics used to try and discredit the movement, silence opposition and scuttle the Gram Sabha only get dirtier. In the latest outrageous attempt to disparage Greenpeace's work in Mahan, fake letters were circulated among residents of Amelia and the local media in Singrauli. Greenpeace India and Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) today filed a police complaint against the fake letters today. The letters, which are going out in the name of Greenpeace activist, Priya Pillai are addressed to members of MSS instigating them to use force against district and police officials if they stop MSS from carrying out their solidarity event on the day of Raksha Bandhan on August 10. Greenpeace strongly advocates non-violent protest and is proud of it. The NGO never advocates use of violence of any kind to register protest.
16 May 2014
Peaceful Forest Protest in India © Greenpeace
"This is a disgusting tactic and immediate action should be taken against those who are behind this. Such acts can have very extreme repercussions. This is a very sensitive issue and the police cannot afford to drag its feet in filing an FIR, like it has done in the past," said Pillai, who is also a member of MSS. The police had failed to act upon a complaint filed by villagers on the forged Gram Sabha. "But when it came to arresting forest rights activists and seizing harmless communication equipment they were uncharacteristically prompt," says Pillai. A copy of the complaint has also been sent to the IG and the DIG of police.
MSS and Greenpeace suspect the proponents and beneficiaries of Essar and Hindalco's proposed coal mine behind this act. "We wonder ...can the company proponents stoop any lower? We have always worked in solidarity with the villagers in Mahan region and have always worked responsibly. This is yet another attempt to malign the good work we have done in the region," she adds.
The planned activity on the day of Raksha Bandhan is only a peaceful attempt to generate support for saving the forests. "The administration should make sure that the activity is carried out smoothly without any untoward incidents," says Pillai,
She adds that the countdown for a fresh Gram Sabha on Forest Rights Act in Amelia village has already begun. "These letters only heighten the fear that the Gram Sabha would not be free, fair and transparent," she adds.
MSS and Greenpeace demand that the local police should immediately file the FIR; book the people responsible for this abominable act; and ensure that such acts are not repeated in future. Greenpeace India and MSS condemned acts such as these to malign their reputation.