Updated: August 29, 2019 3:59:42 pm
Environmentalist and social activist Piyush Manush was allegedly assaulted by BJP cadres at their party office in Salem on Wednesday. Piyush was assaulted when he engaged the district president and other BJP cadres in a heated debate over several issues — from getting threats from a BJP worker to the Centre’s Jammu and Kashmir move on Article 370.
“Will visit BJP office in Salem seeking their views on the economy, Kashmir crisis and many other Issues ..5.00 pm today..live,” Piyush wrote on his Facebook page before his visit to the BJP office.
In the 12 minutes 33-second video which went live on his Facebook page, Piyush is seen entering the BJP office and meeting the BJP district president RP Gopinath.
Piyush informs Gopinath that one Manikandan allegedly belonging to the BJP has been threatening him by sending pictures of sickles and machetes through messenger. “He (Manikandan) replied to you in that manner because you had been speaking in that manner to other BJP leaders,” Gopinath says to Piyush.
Piyush then asks the district president why his family was being targeted by BJP cadres on social media. The argument then shifts to several topics and Gopinath is seen accusing Piyush of being partial to the DMK and Its allies, and spreading hatred against Hindus. In the video, Piyush is seen being questioned by the BJP cadres about his source of income and they accuse him of evading taxes on the pretext of being an agriculturist.
The row escalates as the BJP cadres garland Piyush with chappals. Piyush is also seen being pushed out of the office and the cadres begin to attack him.
In the other videos which went viral on social media, Piyush is seen being brutally attacked by the BJP cadres. He was saved by the police and taken to the Hasthampatti station for inquiry.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Hashthampatti Inspector Ponraj said he has received a complaint from both sides and an FIR has been lodged. “After we received the information, we immediately reached the BJP office. Piyush is suffering from some minor injuries, he has been admitted to the Salem Government Hospital now,” the Inspector said.
The issue triggered outrage on social media, with several politicians and activists expressing their support to Piyush.
DMK President MK Stalin said the attack on Piyush is a threat to freedom of expression.
“Social Activist Piyush Manush who questioned BJP’s poor governance with proof has been attacked. I condemn this severely,” he wrote on Twitter.
On the other hand, the BJP leaders demanded the arrest of Piyush and said he barged into the office to create a ruckus. Calling Piyush Manush as an “Urban Naxalite”, Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan said the police should take strict action against him for entering the BJP office without permission and causing law and order problem. “The criminal trespasser into BJP office in Salem Piyush Manush should be arrested immediately,” National BJP Secretary H Raja wrote on Twitter.
Piyush is known as the ‘Green Warrior’ for his environmental activism. He had been involved in the revival of the 58-acre Mookaneri lake in Kannankurichi near Salem. He had been vocal against many government schemes and corporate initiatives in Salem and across Tamil Nadu. He was arrested earlier and was released on bail for his protest against the proposed eight-lane Salem –Chennai express highway project.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.