Monday, February 16, 2009




In the evening of February 7th, 2009, the Sikkim police arrested 41 anti-Panan Hydropower protestors from the Lepcha Reserve of Dzongu. The protestors were taken to the Mangan police station.

I strongly protest such an action by the Sikkim government. The arrest of these protestors violates the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Expression enshrined in the Indian Constitution. These were exclusively peaceful protests, which are legitimate, since heavy construction activities are going on at the Panan project without all the requisite clearances.

I am given to understand that, owing to the special powers enjoyed by the District Magistrate of the North District, and in the absence of any Resident Judge, the police custody of the arrested protestors could be extended to a week.

I demand the following actions by your office and the Sikkim government:
1. Unconditional release of the arrested;
2. Stop construction activities at the Panan project until all clearances are obtained; and
3. As per the demand of the ACT, review both Panan and Teesta IV projects.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

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