Tamil Nadu: Melma protesters get bail; Goondas Act on activist to stay
The order revoking Goondas Act against the remaining six farmers is yet to reach the prison. Also out of the six farmers, two have to get bail in a second FIR registered against them.
TIRUVANNAMALAI: Activist Arul Arumugam and 19 farmers, arrested under the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage Loss) Act and six other cases following the protest against SIPCOT at Melma, were granted bail. However, Tiruvannamalai magistrate court said Goondas Act against Arul Arumugam will remain, and its hearing will proceed separately.
During Monday’s court proceedings at Tiruvannamalai district court, advocate M Anbazhagan pressed for the immediate release of the 20 farmers involved in the protest. Government public prosecutor KV Manoharan informed the judge since they lacked an order to revoke the Goonda status on six farmers their bail applications cannot be accepted. The prosecutor urged the judge not to rely solely on press reports for granting bail.
Later, the government prosecutor obtained the confirmation copy regarding revoking the goonda status from Tiruvannamalai collectorate officials. “I received the confirmation copy on the order only at 5 pm on Monday,” Manoharan said.
In the evening, judge Madhusudan granted bail to the 20 farmers, including Arul. Sources said out of the 20 farmers, 13 will be released immediately. “The order revoking Goondas Act against the remaining six farmers is yet to reach the prison. Also out of the six farmers, two have to get bail in a second FIR registered against them,” they said.
The farmers were involved in a peaceful sit-in protest on their patta land for over 125 days against the state government’s proposed acquisition of approximately 3,174 acres of agricultural wetland for leasing to SIPCOT and other private industries. They were arrested on November 4 based on an FIR filed in August.