Niyamgiri activist Lingaraj Azad gets bail

Had staged protest outside IRB camp

March 12, 2019 01:44 am | Updated 01:44 am IST - BHUBANESWAR

Lingaraj Azad, convener of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS), who was arrested last week, was granted bail by a local court in Kalahandi district on Monday.

“We are happy that Mr. Azad, who was arrested on flimsy grounds, will be released from jail,” said activist Prafulla Samantara, who met Governor Ganeshi Lal here to seek his intervention on the police and administration’s “illogical” actions.

Mr. Azad had been charged for leading a demonstration outside the Vedanta alumina refinery at Lanjigarh on the foothills of Niyamgiri in April 2017 and for a demonstration outside the India Reserve Battalion camp at Trilochanpur village last month.

The activist was earlier granted bail in the Lanjigarh case while the court granted him bail in the Trilochanpur case on Monday.

Earlier in the day, a group of Dongria Kondhs, a tribal group, who had rejected a bauxite mining proposal through their gram sabhas in Niyamgiri in 2013, came to Bhubaneswar to express solidarity with Mr. Azad.

‘Peaceful protest’

“The decision to arrest Mr. Azad was an atrocious one. We have been peacefully protesting against attempts to start mining in Niyamgiri Hills. The government wants to bully us through indiscriminate arrests. The police had also slapped fabricated cases against me and Lada Sikaka, NSS chief,” said Dadhi Pusika, a Dongria Kondh community leader. He was part of the delegation that met the Governor.

The delegation urged Mr. Lal to order an impartial inquiry into police actions against the NSS leadership and Dongria Kondh tribes.

Mr. Azad was named as a sympathiser of banned outfit CPI(Maoist), which has been waging an armed rebellion against the government, in a statement released by the State police after his arrest on March 6. He was also accused of disturbing the poll process.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.