Archive for June, 2008
Amnesty International Australia
Published on 27/06/2008
Delay in the trial process of jailed and award-winning human rights defender Dr. Binayak Sen followed by arrest of T.G. Ajay, also a human rights defender who attended his trial heightens serious doubts about Dr. Sen getting a fair trial at a Raipur district court in India, Amnesty International said on 25 June 2008.
Detained since 14 May 2007 Dr. Sen is facing numerous charges including under the Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA), which criminalises “unlawful activities” and being a member of banned “terrorist organizations”. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Dr. Sen is a pioneer in providing accessible health care for adivasis (indigenous communities) and mine workers in remote villages of Chhattisgarh. He is recipient of several awards in recognition of his work for more than two decades. As vice-president of India’s leading human rights organisation, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Dr. Sen had highlighted unlawful killings and other human rights abuses in the armed confrontations in Chhattisgarh between the security forces and the Salwa Judum, a private militia widely held to be supported by the state authorities, on the one hand, and armed guerrillas of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) on the other.
Amnesty International called for Dr. Sen’s release soon after his arrest unless he was charged with a recognisably criminal offence – India: Chattisgarh government detains human rights defender, refuses to arrest police officials suspected of involvement in unlawful killings of adivasis. There are sufficient reasons to believe that the charges against him appear to be politically motivated. There has been no investigation so far into the allegations of unlawful killings of adivasis by Salwa Judum and the state police in Santoshpur which he had highlighted prior to his arrest. The authorities held him for seven months without proper filing of charges; in the meantime, he was denied bail; and was kept in solitary confinement for three weeks in March-April 2008; many of the charges against him stem from laws that contravene international standards. His trial, which commenced on 30 April, is now adjourned to 1 July.
By Sujeet Kumar
Raipur, June 27 (IANS) Slamming the government-backed Salwa Judum civil militia movement against Maoists in Chhattisgarh, social activist and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey says “the bullet can never be tackled with the bullet”. “Violence is not the reply to violence. The Maoist problem was a product of the decades-old government neglect of the basic needs of forested people. The only way to overcome the insurgency is to ensure all-round development in trouble-torn areas,” Pandey told IANS in an interview here.
Pandey, who lives in Lucknow, observed a 10-day fast here along with three other social activists from June 16 against the detention of Binayak Sen, a physician-cum-rights activist since last year.
Pandey, known for his work in the education sector, said: “India’s Maoist movement is a product of poverty, backwardness and neglect of the forested masses by the government. Any socio-economic-political problem should be handled with care and development, this is the best way to get over the problem.
“But surprisingly, the Chhattisgarh government created the Salwa Judum in June 2005 which is largely handled by armed anti-social elements.”
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Karnataka – Mysore
MYSORE: Activists of progressive organisations, including People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), staged a demonstration here on Wednesday seeking the release of Binayak Sen, paediatrician, who has been arrested by the Chhattisgarh Government on the charge of sedition.
The activists of Pragatipara Sanghatanegala Okkuta, Karnataka Rajya Cooliekara Sangha, Samata Vedike and other groups participated in the demonstration.
They said the arrest of Dr. Sen, who is the vice-president of PUCL, indicated that the democratic forces, which took up social causes, were being harassed.
The activists pointed out that Dr. Sen treated the poor adivasis and exposed the Government’s alleged role in the killing of the tribal people on the pretext of eliminating the Maoists. He also exposed other atrocities, which earned the wrath of the Government, and hence, was arrested. They sought his immediate release along with other PUCL activist T.G. Ajyay, who was arrested recently.
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BHUBANESWAR, June 25: Mr S A R Gilani while addressing a convention organised to form a regional chapter of a platform to take up the cause of ‘political prisoners’ said that the growing tendency to crush resistance movements by arresting them needs to be checked.
“From Nandigram in West Bengal, Kalinga Nagar and Kashipur in Orissa to J&K and the North East, oppression seems to be the strategy to crush people who are demanding basic rights. Those who protest against land accusation and loss of livelihood are being labelled as ultras, he rued.” Gilani who was jailed for two years following the 2001 attack on Parliament, alleged that minorities were being targeted as a follow up to any blast that takes place anywhere in the country.
There should be a law categorising political prisoners, as India is a party and all such prisoners should be released unconditionally, he demanded. Explaining why he wanted all political prisoners to be released unconditionally, Mr Gilani said none of them would get a fair trial. There are innumerable instances including the one relating to Binayak Sen, he alleged. Political prisoners are treated in the most inhuman manner, charge sheets are not filed and all kinds of sections are made out against them, he remarked. Debunking the ‘internal security threat’ version often given by the police , he said there is absolutely no such threat. “What kind of a democracy is this, is it democratic to arrest people who struggle to protect their land and safeguard their livelihood,” he asked. The root cause of socio-economic unrest that leads people to take to arms is never addressed. Instead of resolving the socio-economic problems of people, the attitude is to arrest the people and overcome the immediate problem.
Gilani informed that a joint platform had been formed at the national level to take up cause of political prisoners and he was out here to set up regional chapters.
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By JULIE MASIS
The wife of doctor Binayak Sen, who has been held in an Indian prison for more than a year, told about 40 people at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that her husband still needs the support of the international community.
Ilina Sen spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on June 3 explaining the situation in Chhattisgarh, a state in central India, and the circumstances leading to her husband’s arrest.
Adv. Thushar Nirmal Sarathi updates about the formation of a state level defense committee in kochi, kerala to campaign against the illegal custody of Dr.Binayak Sen, film maker Ajay tg and other rights activists.
The collective consist of members from PUCL, CHRO, PORATTAM, NAPM, KUWJ,WYNAD HUMAN RIGHTS & CULTURAL MOVEMENT, KERALEEYAM,Kerala Yukthivadi Prasthanam and many other civil rights groups. defense committee will start a state wide campaign next week Dr. abdul salam is the chairman of commitee and Adv.thushar nirmal sarathi is the convener
June 24, 2008
Many concerned Indians in the USA, UK, Canada, UK, Australia, Thailand and other countries are fasting from 16 – 25 June 2008 along with hundreds of activists in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, demanding the annulment of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) 2005, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967, amended in 2004, and the release of Dr Binayak Sen (medical doctor and recipient of the prestigious Jonathan Mann award for Health and Human Rights), Ajay TG (filmmaker) and others.
These draconian laws (CSPSA and UAPA) sanction the violation of due process by the state, and thus contravene internationally accepted norms of jurisprudence as well as democratic governance. As Mr.Kannabiran, National President of PUCL, India, argues in his letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the CSPSA and UAPA operate by criminalizing the very performance of civil liberties activities, and culpability is decided upon not by direct proof, but through guilt by association.
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Chattisgarh’s BJP government demonstrated its indifference towards human rights activists in the state, who were protesting peacefully through fasting. They were expressing concern at the growing ruthless character of the state..
THE CHHATTISGARH government remains indifferent towards the 10-day group fast started by social activist, Dr Sandeep Pandey, at Raipur, the state capital, which has entered seventh day. The protest was started protesting against the black law in the state, under which activists like Dr Binayak Sen, Ajay TG and others were arrested a year ago.
While the morale of those fasting in protest, including Magsaysay Award winner Dr Sandeep Pandey, Prem Narain Verma, Ram Prakash and Faizal Khan was very high and optimistic, the BJP Government in the state demonstrated its total indifference towards democratic and peaceful method of those protesting against the arrests.
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The Binayak Sen story is more than just about the violation of individual rights, says Shoma A Chatterji
THE Binayak Sen story is much more than one of a gross violation of human rights. It goes far beyond the international appeals to release him from the unlawful detention he has been subjected to for more than one year. Beginning 16 June, a 10-day fast has been organised at Raipur in Chhattisgarh to express solidarity with him and Ajay TG (a film-maker) — both members of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, and others detained under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967) amended in 2004 to include key sections of the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act, 2002. Pota was itself repealed in 2004 following widespread criticism of abuse and human rights violations. The CSPSA allows for arbitrary detention of persons suspected of belonging to an unlawful organisation or participating in its activities or giving protection to any member of such an organisation, and human rights
organisations have demanded its repeal.
The Telegraph, Kolkotta
Front Page > Opinion > Story
Is there an easy way to make an elected representative accountable? The people of Raipur, Gunderdehi and Nawagarh in Chhattisgarh have given their answer. They have made full use of the Chhattisgarh Nagar Palika Adhiniyam, 1961, a state legislation, to recall the chairpersons of three urban bodies whom they judged wanting. According to the legislation, three-fourths of the corporators must sign a statement saying they had lost confidence in their chairperson and submit it to the district administration before the process for the vote of recall can begin. But the process cannot be initiated before the representatives in question have spent two years in office — in these cases, they have been there for the best part of four years. The principle of accountability is likely to be touched by politics as long as the process remains on the level of the no-confidence statement from colleagues, but that is neutralized once the issue is thrown open to the people’s vote.
There is strong logic in support of this weapon; the Lok Sabha speaker himself advocates it. No one can deny that it is high time elected representatives at every level were made to feel that purely self-serving politics is not acceptable. But there is also the logic that underlies elections in a democracy. A representative is elected for a fixed term depending on his function, usually for five years. There is reason behind the time given: nothing enduring can be begun or executed short of it. If the representative sits in the Lok Sabha or a state assembly, he has manifold and complex duties. There is no quick way to assess his effectiveness or intention. Besides, while the electorate of an urban body or a gram panchayat is relatively small, the electorates of members of parliament or the legislative assembly are much larger. The power to recall in such cases would become confusing and unwieldy, opening up more avenues for politicking and causing enormous expenditure.