B Mohan was 45 years old and a resident of Palangulam village in the Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu.
He was an environmental activist and a former head of the local government. Mohan with the help of his fellow villagers had formed a group to monitor and check illegal quarrying from water bodies in their area such as Purandi and Puluthikulam water tanks. These tanks serve as a source of water for the entire village and are used for irrigation and drinking water. The objective of the group was to protect and enhance the quality of water bodies in the area. The soil mining gangs often target water tanks to illegally mine the sand.
According to sources, on June 2, 2019, Mohan along with five friends, went to the Purandi tank in the village for bathing. Suddenly they heard some noise from a nearby place called Puzhithikulam so they went there. Upon their arrival, they found at least six men illegally extracting sand with a digger.
Mohan told them that according to the government regulations sand can be extracted up to 3 square feet from Puzhithikulam and questioned them for extracting sand up to 15 square feet depth. One of the men got angry and he along with his group attacked Mohan and his friends with iron rod and sticks.
They all ran, but Mohan was chased down by the perpetrators and was again taken to the Puzhithikulam tank where he was brutally drowned. The perpetrators dumped Mohan’s body outside of the Ramanathapuram Government Hospital.
Despite the first police report being filed the same day –including the names of the perpetrators– the accused have not yet been arrested.