Salem, June 19: Environmental activist Piyush Manush was arrested by Tamil Nadu police on Monday for allegedly making inflammatory comments and provoking public against the proposed Chennai-Salem eight-lane Greenfield Corridor project which is estimated to cost Rs 10,000 crore.
Manush has been at the forefront in opposing the proposed eight-lane Chennai-Salem highway project as well as the Salem airport expansion. Manush’s arrest comes after Tamil actor Mansoor Ali Khan was arrested on Sunday over the same issue.
Salem Deputy Superintendent of Police S Baskaran reportedly said that Manush’s name appeared in the first information report (FIR) filed against Mansoor Ali Khan. Baskar said, “We arrested him late evening today. I cannot reveal charges now. He is remanded.”
On May 3, when Mansoor Ali Khan visited the Mookaneri in Salem, he allegedly delivered an inflammatory speech at Omallur against the implementation of a highway project. Khan addressed the speech in the presence of Manush at a non-governmental organisation maintained by Manush.
During a vehicle check on Salem-Dharmapuri road on Monday, Manush was taken into custody by Omalur police. Manush was already arrested for his activism against Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s pet project. In 2016, Manush protested against constructing a bridge at Muluvadi gate in Salem and was arrested for the same.
Tamil Nadu government is planning to acquire 2791 hectares of land to implement the NHAI project. On Monday, a land survey was conducted in Salem despite resistance from farmers and political parties. The travel time between Chennai and Salem which is 6 hours 26 minutes will be reduced to three hours 9 minutes once the action plan is executed. The highway runs through 159 villages such as Salem, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram.