The Arunachal Pradesh Police on Sunday arrested two people for painting “no more dams” message on a mural on the boundary wall of the state civil secretariat building in capital Itanagar.
Human rights lawyer E Mili and Assam-based artist Nilim Mahanta have been charged under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984. They were arrested after a first information report was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by the secretariat officials, Superintendent of Police Jimmy Chiram told Scroll.in.
Many social activists have called out the administration for taking action on a mark of protest against the hydropower projects in the state. The graffiti was spray painted against proposed dam projects aimed at producing 57,000 megawatts of hydropower in the state.
“With Arunachal Pradesh being proposed ground for 57, 000 MW mega dams, the rich and only surviving biodiversity hotspot of the world falls under a threat,” the activists said in a statement on Monday. “And not just our beautiful land but also the well being of our people are at risk.”
The activists have raised concerns that construction of the dams would lead to loss of land and home for the residents of the state. They have demanded that Mili and Mahanta be released immediately.
“I am not trying to defend anyone, but will always try to justify it,” climate activist SD Loda told the Arunachal Times. “It is not a crime. It is a clear-cut message that we don’t need any more dams here in Arunachal Pradesh.”