Hours after Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forests, opened the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity at the HICC, about 10 Green Peace activists led by actress and social activist Amala Akkineni unfurled a banner from the balcony of the Charminar demanding that the government halt all new coal mining in forest areas if they were really serious about conserving biodiversity.
The 60-ft banner emblazoned with the Prime Minister’s face read — Stop Coal Crimes — Save Indian Forests Commenting on why she was in the protest, Amala said, “Coal mining is destroying the huge biodiversity in India. It is destroying the homes of tens of thousands of tribal communities and is threatening the natural habitat of the Indian Tiger.
That's why I am protesting along with almost a quarter of a million people who have signed Greenpeace India’s petition demanding the govt. to stop destroying our forests.
” Amala and the activists, who also staged a protest at the Charminar, were taken into custody by the Charminar Police. However, they were let off on submission of a personal bond. When contacted, assistant commissioner of police (Charminar division) M Rammohan Rao said, “Amala and 10 other activists unfurled a banner atop the Charminar.
Besides, the traffic came to a standstill as Amala and others staged a dharna at the junction without permission.’’ The traffic movement was paralysed for at least a couple of hours giving a tough time to the traffic police.
To maintain pressure on the government, Greenpeace India and Kalpavriksh will release a new report on October 15 highlighting how the expansion of coal mining across central India is systematically destroying the lives of thousands of indigenous communities, with many being forced to abandon their traditional homelands and live in so called ‘rehabilitation centres’.
This new study will be launched at the UN’s biodiversity conference on the eve of the prime minister’s address to delegates at the conference.