Social activist Vidya Dinker and four others, who were arrested on the charges of obstruction and use of vulgar language against Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda on Thursday, were released on bail on Saturday.
The Second Judicial Magistrate First Class passed the order on an application filed by Ms. Dinker and others on Thursday night.
The Magistrate directed Ms. Dinker, Jacintha, Lata, Godfrey, and Ashok Amin to appear before the investigation officer every alternate Sunday till the police filed the charge sheet.
The police arrested Ms. Dinker and four others following a complaint accusing them of obstructing the Deputy Commissioner from discharge of his duty. They were also accused of using abusive words.
They were among the group of people who had gone to question Mr. Gowda regarding dumping of mud by Mangalore Special Economic Zone into the Phalguni river. All the five were sent to the Mangalore prison after they were produced before the magistrate.
Speaking to reporters after her release, Ms. Dinker accused the Deputy Commissioner of colluding with police and allowing the MSEZ to go ahead with the Road-cum-Pipeline Corridor work in violation of Coastal Regulatory Zone norms.
“We had gone to the DC to enquire as to when he would visit the area. Some among us were upset over DC's failure to visit the place as promised by him earlier. It was a business-like talk and we did not use any abusive words.”
On the allegation of obstruction, Ms. Dinker said it was unintentional.
“We just wanted him to say the time of his visit before he leaves the premises. A few of us happened to be near the door of his car.” Ms. Dinker said there have been several times during the fight against the MSEZ that they have visited Deputy Commissioners with problems of people.
“This is the first time police have been used against us. We do not want the DC who does not want to hear people,” she said.
Coming down strongly against police, Ms. Dinker accused Assistant Commissioner of Police T.R. Jagannath and Sub Inspector Bharati of speaking with the five in a vulgar manner. Mr. Jagannath pushed her and few others away, while a constable standing behind her put his stick on her back, Ms. Dinker said.
Mr. Jagannath did not call women police despite there being a need. The police arrested Ashok Amin, who was not at all related to the issue, she said.
At the police station, Ms. Dinker said the police refused to allow her to speak with her father H.C. Dinker and advocate for nearly two hours. “Police have thrown all set norms to support a private company. The nexus of DC and police (in allowing the work) lies exposed,” she said.
Ms. Dinker said the ongoing work of MSEZ was in contrary to the stipulation by the CRZ authorities that it should be done on the landward side of the existing Road.
“What they are doing in wrong. We are taking up this matter before the High Court,” she said. They would also thinking of legal recourse over the misconduct of policemen, Ms. Dinker added.
Dismissing the allegation of collusion, the Deputy Commissioner told The Hindu that MSEZ's corridor project had been approved by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and it was for the Ministry to monitor the work. He had gone to the area following complaints of violation of Coastal Regulatory Zone norms. “I have directed the MSEZ to remove the mud wherever I found violation,” he said.
Mr. Gowda said MSEZ had sought police protection to commence work. The arrest on Thursday was because of a complaint by MSEZ accusing residents of obstructing its work, he said.