Mangalore: Several organisations in the city staged a “Zilladhikari hatao, zilla bachao” demonstration to protest the arrest of five activists and residents of Melukoppa Athrebail Naagarika Samthi, in front of the DC office here on Friday, May 22. Vidya Dinker, Godfrey D’Souza, Jacintha D’Souza, Ashok Amin and Latha D’Souza were taken into custody and booked under section 147, 148, 353 and 341 on Thursday, May 21.
The Samithi has been protesting the dumping if mud into Phalguni river by MSEZ for the construction of a proposed road cum pipeline corridor. It said that dumping of mud into the river would result in artificial flooding of the river in the other bank, which threatened to displace people during rainy season.
By lodging cases against activists and residents of the region, DC has attempted to silence the protesters. Lodging IPC section 353 on activists like Vidya Dinaker is sad and condemnable, said the general secretary of National Confederation of Human Right Organisations, Dinesh Hegde Ullepady.
Addressing the protesters Renny D’Souza of People Union for Civil Liberties pointed out that arresting children along with the residents and activists was a violation of child rights. “DC is the president of Integrated Child Protection System in the district”, he pointed out and demanded a response from him for the violation. He said that police officers who had arrested children must be suspended.
District president of Democratic Youth Federation of India, Muneer Katipalla criticised the actions of the police which led to the arrest of people ranging from ‘one year old child to 85 year old women.’ He said that DC has insulted democratic values of the nation by refusing to talk to the protesters who had come to see him, but in turn arrested them under section 353.
Koolur, Melukoppa Athrebail Naagarika Samithi, Citizens Forum, Student Federation of India, PUCL, Jamaat E Islami Hind and Communal Harmony Forum were among the organisations that supported the protest.