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3 Greenpeace activists, jailed under Wildlife Act, granted bail

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 18 (UNI) A city court has granted bail to three Greenpeace activists arrested on April 14 for possessing Olive Ridley turtles carcasses.

Bail was granted to Imran, Ashish Fernandes and V C Singh after they fulfilled the requisite bail conditions yesterday.

On April 15, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjeev Jain had sent the three to judicial custody till April 29 after he had given them bail but the activists could not fulfill the requisite bail conditions.

The court said though the intention of the activists was good but their means to protest was not. One could not use wildlife parts in any way, which were State's property, it held.

The city police had arrested the three Greenpeace activists while they were protesting outside the Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's residence in the capital on April 14.

Three of 12 activists, participating in the demonstration on April 14, were booked under the Wildlife Protection Act and held overnight at the Tughlaq Road Police Station.

The activists had been accused of violating the Wildlife Protection Act by transporting carcasses of Olive Ridley turtles from Orissa to Delhi, even as those responsible for the deaths of the turtles were being allowed to go scot free, Greenpeace said in a statement.

Greenpeace condemned the decision to book the environmental activists under an Act that meant to protect the very interests that had motivated the activists to confront the Chief Minister.

''It is shocking that officials of the law choose to prosecute those who take action to uphold the law, instead of those who flagrantly violate it, or those abusing their positions of responsibility,'' Mr Fernandes said.

''Given that the Chief Minister has abdicated his responsibility to protect the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles, we consider him to be in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act,'' he added.

Over 100,000 endangered Olive Ridley turtles had died in the last one decade in Orissa, and as Greenpeace has pointed out, this was particularly ironical at a time when the United Nations marked 2006 as the International Year of the Turtle.

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