Three Out of Four Van Satyagrahis Granted Bail

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Press release - May 10, 2014
May 9, 2014, Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh: Greenpeace and MSS will approach the High Court for the release of the fourth satyagrahi as peaceful protest is not a crime.

After being detained for over 40 hours by the police, three of the four forest arrested activists are being released on bail today at Waidhan Court in Singrauli. Greenpeace welcomed the court's decision but demanded the immediate release of a fourth activist, Bechanlal Shah – a member of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) and a resident of Amelia village.

Those being released on bail include Greenpeace activists, Akshay Gupta and Vineet Gupta, and MSS member Vijay Shankar Singh. "We are relieved that three of our colleagues are being released. But we condemn the continued detention of our colleague and friend, Bechanlalji. Peaceful protest is not a crime, and we will continue to demand his release and approach the High Court," said Samit Aich, Executive director of Greenpeace India.

The four had been arrested on Wednesday for their peaceful protest to stop the destruction of Mahan forest for an Essar-led coal mine. The arrest sparked wide outrage. Amnesty International India, Prashant Bhushan, Medha Patker, Vrinda Grover, National Alliance of Peoples Movements, 350.org and Jan Sangharsh Morcha are amongst those demanding their release, and the full upholding of activist and community rights.

Meanwhile, today, about 100 villagers, (mostly women and children) marched into the forests to show solidarity for their friends who had been jailed, making one message loud and clear – they will never give up their demand for saving Mahan forests.

Greenpeace and MSS will continue to oppose Essar's proposed coal mine and expose the company's wrongdoings and will not be bogged down by such intimidation tactics.

For further information, please contact:

Avinash Kumar Chanchal, Media Officer, Greenpeace India: +91 8359826363;

Anindita Datta Choudhury, Senior Media Officer, Greenpeace India: +91 9871515804;

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