Condemn the assault on Prof.P.Rajamanickam, Saraswathy Narayanan College, Madurai, a science popularisation activist while photographing felling of trees in the college campus

Professor P. Rajamanickam was photographing the illegitimate felling of trees in his college campus in order to document the illegal activity when he was assaulted by people instigated by the private college management in Madurai. Prof Rajamanickam is a renowned science popularization activist who has been working with the common people for more than three decades as part of the Tamil Nadu Science Forum. An earlier State President of the Tamil Nadu Science Forum (TNSF), a popular science movement and also a former Secretary of the All India People’s Science Network, Prof. Rajamanickam is also the editor of the TNSF newsletter Siragu. He has been recently involved all over Tamil Nadu in lectures, radio programmes, jathas, meeting school students and public in popularizing the preservation of bio-diversity and the need to mitigate climate change.
The Saraswathy Narayanan College, Madurai where he works has a variety of old trees that harbor fruit eating bats and make the campus a pleasant place for the students. Prof. Rajamanickam had been campaigning for the preservation of these trees and the biodiversity of the campus. The trees are said to be worth more than Rs. 30 lakhs. Various petitions have been made earlier to the forest division, the collector and other officials for preventing the felling of these trees. Today morning, observing that the oldest tree in the campus was about to be cut by henchmen of the management without consultation, Prof. Rajamanickam started photographing this for documentation purpose. The henchmen were instigated to attack the professor. Prof. Rajamanickam subsequently filed a complaint with the police station and has been admitted to the General Hospital for treatment of injuries. The resort to violence against people trying to save the ecosystem is strongly condemned. We call upon the Madurai district authorities to intervene and prevent the damage to the ecological system in Saraswathy Narayanan college campus.

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