INDIA : PROTESTERS ARRESTED
INDIA : PROTESTERS ARRESTED
2006-05-16 at 11:26:00 am #15456
India: Turtle protesters arrested
Delhi, India — Bearing witness to the mass murder of Olive Ridley
turtles can cost you dearly in the strange world we inhabit. 12
Greenpeace activists were arrested in New Delhi this morning, for
having brought evidence of turtle mortality from Orissa to Delhi. In
stark contrast, the person responsible for their deaths, Chief Minister
Naveen Patnaik, was respectfully escorted to his vehicle by Delhi
police, after he had made the appropriate sound bytes to news
cameras.Three turtle carcasses lay on white sheets, surrounded by the
sun-bleached bones and skulls of several others. Two large banners, in
English and in Hindi, make it quite clear to passers-by that the Chief
Accused for the death of the Olive Ridleys in Orissa is none other than
the Chief Minister of the State.
How much evidence do you need?
camped at Orissa for four months at the Turtle Witness Camp, bearing
witness to thousands of dead turtles washed ashore this season. We’ve
seen, up close and personal, the maggot-infested carcasses of turtles,
pregnant female turtles lying dead with their precious hoard of eggs
laid open to predators and adult male turtles lying forlornly on shores
that they usually never return to once they’ve left as hatchlings.
gone to the Chief Wildlife Warden, and recreated a graveyard at his
doorstep, asking him what he has done to prevent these deaths.
Surprisingly, he responded by saying that his department had neither
the expertise nor the infrastructure required to adequately protect the
We’ve even put together the “I Witness Report” , personal
testimonies by the many people who have visited our Turtle Witness
Camp, interlaced with the shocking results of the monitoring and
documentation we’ve carried out over the last few months.
Raising a stink.
the scene from The Point Of No Return where Maggie stands over a human
body dissolving in an acid bath and, unflinching, mutters “I never did
mind about the little things.”
That scene was re-enacted this morning.
facts and figures don’t rattle a Chief Minister, Greenpeace figured,
perhaps the sight and smell of Olive Ridley turtles in various stages
of decomposition would. For once, we were proven wrong. Naveen Patnaik
was able to smile suavely at cameras, neatly sidestep both the
carcasses and the uncomfortable questions posed by our activists, and
mouth platitudes like, “The turtles are the pride of Orissa and over
the past few years, we have sensitised the local community towards the
need to protect them.”Unmentionable is the fact that it takes something
more than a sensitised community to defend the turtles. Something like
spending the Rs.1 Crore (Rupees ten million) that Naveen Patnaik’s
government received towards actually protecting the turtles .”It’s time
the Chief Minister woke up to the urgency of the situation. He can no
longer evade his responsibility for the annual turtle genocide in
Orissa,” said Ashish Fernandes, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
“The evidence is before us – the state’s failure to protect this
endangered species could well result in the total collapse of the
turtle population. He needs to take action, and do so now!”
Three Greenpeace activists booked under Wildlife Protection Act.
the 12 Greenpeace activists arrested at this morning’s action outside
the residence of Orissa Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, three have been
booked under the Wildlife Protection Act, and will be held overnight at
the Tughlaq Road Police Station. Activists have been accused of
violating the Wildlife Protection Act by transporting carcasses of
Olive Ridley turtles from Orissa to Delhi, while, as they pointed out,
those responsible for the deaths of these turtles are allowed to go
scot free.Greenpeace reacts strongly to the decision to book
environmental activists under an act meant to protect the very
interests that motivated the activists to confront the Chief Minister
“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,” said
Ashish Fernandes. “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.”Over 100,000 Olive Ridley turtles have died in the last
one decade in Orissa, and as Greenpeace has pointed out, this is
particularly ironical at a time when the United Nations marks 2006 as
the International Year of the Turtle.