Vivek Goyal reporting the first hand account of the Forest Four. 8th May midnight at 00.00 hrs, police arrested 4 members of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti from the Greenpeace guest house at Waidhan. The activists arrested were Akshay Gupta, Vineet Gupta, Vijay Shankar Singh and Bechanlal Shah. The cops neither showed any arrest warrant, nor did they tell where they were taking the activists to. After 7 long hours MSS members got information that the activists were at Mada police station. Only at 7.30 a.m the police ‘officially’ arrested them and all four of them had been charged under four sections: 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servants from doing their duty), 186 (Obstructing a public servant in discharge of public functions), 392 (punishment for robbery) and 180/14 (refusing to sign a confession). Same day around afternoon they were produced to the court and were ordered to be sent to judicial custody / jail. Arrested activists told that they hadn’t committed any crime and they were protecting their rights peacefully. Vijay Shankar wasn’t even present when the incident of villagers stopping marking of the trees in Mahan had happened. The activists maintained that they are booked wrongfully and they would continue fighting for their rights, even Gandhiji did that and the nation is proud about him! Akshay Gupta informed that he was beaten by the cops were forced to sign some papers at the police station.
9th May 3 activists except Bechanlal Shah were granted bail from the court on Rs. 50000 bail amount. The released activists told that they are sad that Bechanlal wasn’t granted bail and they would move to the high court to get him released. Their Sangharsh would continue and would continue peacefully for protecting the rights. Activism is not a crime!