Archive for September, 2008
DGP on the charges against Dr. Binayak Sen
Attorney Rajiv Dhawan says chages against Dr. Binayak Sen false; asks DGP to resign
Justice Srikrishna pronounces Salwa Judum unconstitutional
The DGP has his say (and prevaricates)
Nandini Sundar exposes his lies
Sunil Kumar gets his turn (includes shots of protesters and banners approx. 16 minutes into the segment)
The Q& A Session
AjayTG – DGP Vishwa Ranjan admits arrest was a technical mistake!
Dipti – the real story
Statement read out by Dipti Bhatnagar
Students for Justice in Chhattisgarh, UC Berkeley
The Berkeley Conference on Indian Democracy
Saturday 9/27, 2:00 pm
8th Floor, Barrows Hall
I appreciate this opportunity to express our views and ask some questions of Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, the highest police official of Chhattisgarh.
Others have talked about the broader issues, I wish to talk about the intimidation, the silencing of those who dare to speak out against the trampling of rights by the state. The best known example is perhaps Binayak Sen, an acclaimed doctor currently languishing in the Raipur jail. Binayak Sen has spent more than 25 years serving the poorest and the most marginalized communities of Chhattisgarh. He has also actively worked with these communities in their struggles to protect their rights and dignity, and is the national vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties. An outspoken critic of the Salwa Judum, and of the reign of terror spread by state forces in the name of countering the Maoist insurgency, what has been Binayak Sen’s reward? He gets arrested and thrown into jail by the police. Another political prisoner paying the price for having a conscience!
Sixteen long months later, Dr. Sen continues to be held behind bars. Why, you may ask? Well, first it took almost a year before the trial even started. And during this year he had to spend 3 weeks in solitary confinement, a confinement that was illegal, without court approval. Once the trial did start, the police was unable to present any credible evidence, and the prosecution witnesses, nearly two dozen so far, have turned hostile. So what do the police and prosecutor do? They start fabricating evidence. A mysterious letter appears in the supposedly sealed evidence bag produced in court. A letter not listed on the search memo or mentioned in the charge sheet. Not properly authenticated. Conveniently for the state’s case, this letter is from the Maoists, thanking Dr. Sen for his help.
Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, can you tell us why the police feel compelled to fabricate evidence?
Another, and related, case of intimidation by the state is that of Ajay TG, a young film maker and Binayak Sen’s colleague in the PUCL. Ajay’s mistake was making a film about the strange circumstances surrounding Binayak Sen’s arrest and incarceration. So of course, Ajay too was arrested as a threat to the security of the state. In this case, the police couldn’t even produce a charge sheet, even after 90 days, the statutory maximum period someone can be held without charge. But even though they had to let Ajay out on bail, the police haven’t given up.
Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, why have you not dropped the case if you still haven’t come up with a charge sheet against Ajay, 150 days after his initial arrest?
Of course, Ajay TG and Binayak Sen, are not isolated cases of critics being intimidated and harassed into silence by the police. Equally egregious, even if less visible, is the continuing reign of terror in the lives of large swaths of tribal communities in Chhattisgarh. One of the most blatant instances of state intimidation is the case of Nendra village in Dantewara. Villagers from Nendra had been attacked multiple times by the forces of Salwa Judum, had 150 dwellings burnt, 4 women raped and 27 inhabitants, including 9 children, killed. On 10th June 2008, they testified before the visiting fact- finding team from the National Human Rights Commission investigating Salwa Judum atrocities. Five days later, the Salwa Judum forces exacted revenge on this village by attacking it yet again and burning 11 homes. And the police response? They shrugged off this case of arson, saying that Nendra was abandoned and the houses were likely Maoist hideouts.
Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, can you tell us why the police cannot even guarantee the safety and security of witnesses testifying before a team sent into the state under orders from the Supreme Court?
In the name of fighting the Maoists, the police and administration in Chhattisgarh have turned the state into a human rights nightmare.
I, and the other groups and individuals I represent at this podium, demand the repeal of Chhattisgarh’s Black Laws, we demand that the Salwa Judum be disbanded, all political prisoners, including Dr. Binayak Sen be released by the state and democracy be restored in Chhattisgarh.
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
Association for India’s Development
Campaign to Stop Funding Hate
Friends of South Asia
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
People’s Health Movement
Cases of Dr. Binayak Sen and Mr. T.G.Ajay: Terrorizing Human Rights Defenders / Development Activists?
1. Why is the State Afraid of the Good Doctor?
Question: Why does the State NOT specify charges against Dr.Binayak Sen NOR produce any evidence regarding his actions and yet keep him in jail for 534 days?
The chargesheet against Dr. Sen under CSPSA intentionally uses “vague” terms such as “sedition,” “waging war against the state” and “abetting unlawful activities.” He is charged with helping an illegal organization as a member by participating in it OR as a non-member by funding OR receiving funds OR by “hatching a conspiracy.” Dates, time or places of these “activities” are often not specified. This allows police to endlessly drag the trial by producing long list of witnesses without specifying their relevance.
2. Dr. Sen, Can We Presume?
Question: On what basis has the police determined that Dr. Sen is a “doctor in name only”?
The chargesheet against Dr.Sen says that he “is certainly a doctor: but is a big zero in terms of actual practice of medicine.” Does a gold medal from CMC Vellore, the 2004 Paul Harrison Award, Global Health Council’s Jonathan Mann Award 2008, and founding Shaheed Hospital in Chhattisgarh not matter?
3. No Evidence? Doesn’ Matter, Plant Some
Question: Why did the police try to fabricate evidence against Dr. Sen?
Even though the seizure memo in Dr. Sen’s case lists 10 items obtained from his premises signed by the Investigating Officer (IO), Dr. Sen and witnesses, the sealed bag of evidence opened in court had 11 objects, the extra one bearing only the signatures of the IO and prosecution witness.
4. Now, who is a threat to who?
Question: Can you explain why there is a consistent attempt to harass Dr.Ilina Sen (Binayak Sen’s wife and co-activist) -neither an accused nor a witness- both in and outside the court room?
On July 2nd, 2008, during the trial, the public prosecutor tried to implicate Dr. Ilina Sen by asking leading questions to a witness asking him to “identify” Ilina in court. On another occasion, the same prosecutor publicly threatened to falsely implicate Ilina by boasting that “if the defence wished they could make the wife of the accused an accused in the present case at anytime.”
5.No Chargesheet, But Imprisoned; Released, But Not Free
Question: Why was Mr. T.G. Ajay, an independent film maker jailed for 93 days under CSPSA, and with no chargesheet produced by the police at the end? Why is Ajay’s case not yet withdrawn?
Question: Why were police personnel threatening the women and children of the slum where Ajay’s school, Drksakshi operates despite all odds on issues of malnutrition, illiteracy and livelihood?
Question: Why was Ajay being pressurized to sign a letter falsely implicating Binayak Sen and the PUCL as a condition for his release?
Despite efforts to try and frame him, Ajay had to be released on statutory bail. The police could not find any evidence of his wrong-doing. Yet, as shockingly revealed by PUCL legal team, Ajay was also being forced by the police to sign a statement against PUCL, Binayak and Ilina Sen as a condition for his release.
Salwa Judum: Democracy Chhattisgarh-Style, State Impunity For State Violence Against Citizens?
1.When Report after Report Documents State Sponsored Violence…Can The Emperor Have Any Clothes?
Question: Will the DGP (as the senior most police officer in the State) be liable for murder? Since the State and its police dept. gives logistic and monetary support to Salwa Judum, shouldn’t they be considered accomplices?
In September 2008, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal after perusing the National Human Rights Commission report on violence in Chhattisgarh said, “The allegation is that the state is arming private persons. You can deploy as many police personnel or armed forces to tackle the menace. But, if private persons, so armed by the state government, kill other persons, then the state is also liable to be prosecuted as abettor of the murder.” Chief Justice Balakrishnan added “It is very painful to read the report. It says there is arson and looting, people are armed and they [Salwa Judum] are committing serious offences. It says people who are subjected to serious problems are still afraid of coming out.”
Question: What kind of police force has more than 85% of its officers commit crimes that got them “discharged”?
In a recent interview in Pioneer, the DGP admitted that 3,250 Special Police Officers (SPOs, the official title for Salwa Judum employees) were “discharged on various grounds of indiscipline.” The DGP has also claimed (to HRW) that there are 3800 SPOs altogether (the SP Dantewada claimed 3500). If this is the admission of the top police officer, then is it difficult to see why SPOs murder, rape, & forcibly displace?
Question: Will the DGP now include the Supreme Court justices in his list of “Maoist sympathizers” who are demoralizing the Indian state?
The DGP is fond of calling anyone who condemns the Salwa Judum as “maoist sympathizer”. This list includes so far Shankar Guha Niyogi–labour leader founder of India’s largest mass organization, the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha; sociologist Nandini Sundar, historian Ramachandra Guha, author Arundhati Roy, journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary, human rights groups such as PUCL, Gandhians such as Kanak Tiwari, Himanshu Kumar and Sandeep Pandey, the entire Planning Commission Experts Committee–in short he includes anyone who dares to dissent in his terrorized state.
2. How to Make a Terrorist? A State Primer
Question: Why does the Chhattisgarh police arm children under 18 years? Does the DGP know that “Conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities” constitutes a war crime under the “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998″?
“The police asked me also to become an SPO [special police officer] but I refused because I did not want to become an SPO and commit heinous crimes. I did not want to shoot and kill people. … They do not ask anyone how old they are. Even 14-year-olds can become SPOs if the police want them to become SPOs.”
– Poosam Kanya (pseudonym), former resident of Errabore camp, December 2007 (Human Rights Watch)
3.Deny First Information Reports (FIRs), Claim no Evidence= No Atrocities
Question: Why are FIRs not filed for cases when victims have requested that they be filed?
On 18th March 2008, three tribals in Matwada Salwa Judum camp in Bijapur district were brutally killed by the Salwa Judum/police. On August 11th, 2008, Salwa Judum/police killed 5 people at the Arlampalli village. The police refused to file any FIRs in both cases despite constant requests by Himanshu Kumar of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram. On March 31, 2007 the Salwa Judum/police killed six or more aboriginals in Santoshpur/Ponjer, a fact that was testified later by the “team leader of SPOs” to a journalist.
4. Meritocracy in the Bureaucracy: Murder, Rape, Torture as Credentials
Question: Why has no action been taken against former SP Kalluri for his crimes?
S.R.P. Kalluri, (Former) SP,Balrampur has been implicated in Custodial rape of Ledha Bai and murder of her husband, Police beatings in Ambikapur, Lathicharge of Rozgar Adhikar Yatra (March for Right to Employment), custodial torture, fake encounters and Intimidation of Lawyers. Kalluri has been promoted and made DIG, Anti-naxal operations, in the capital city of Raipur.
5. Who is in charge in Chhattisgarh?
Question: Why does the Chhattisgarh government harass NGOs by speaking in two voices?
In August 2007, Chhattisgarh state tried to ban NGOs, including Medicine Sans Borders (MSF or Doctors without Borders). Why did a local DC (Dantewada) and SP (Bijapur) claim that NGO’s (and MSF) are assisting Maoists, whilst the State government in Raipur expressed full cooperation with MSF? Why did the media rush to declare MSF as banned, leading to harassment of MSF personnel by Salwa Judum?
- How can the DG claim that the Salwa Judum is a “peace movement”?
- Will the findings of multiple reports make the Chhattisgarh state stop supporting the Salwa Judum?
- Is this Roster not proof of the inability of the DGP as the highest ranking police officer in the state to perform his job? Why should he not be asked to resign?
Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) is a new version of extraordinary laws such as POTA and TADA that bypass many routine forms of due process through a broad definition of an unlawful activity and acceptance of vague and unreliable evidence, all in the name of national security.
Salwa Judum: State sponsored militia set up in 2005 ostensibly to counter Maoist-led violence in mineral rich districts of Chhattisgarh, home to a large population of aboriginal groups now the predatory target of Indian and foreign multinational corporations. Many human rights groups and independent citizen’s groups such as Asian Center for Human Rights, International Association of People’s Lawyers, People’s Union of Civil Liberties/People’s Union for Democratic Rights/Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) West Bengal, and Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Indian National Human rights Commission have documented the details of how Salwa Judum has been responsible for killing, looting, rapes and forced eviction of people from their homes to camps with inhuman conditions.
DGP Vishwaranjan: Highest ranking police officer in Chhattisgarh, consistent apologist for CSPSA, Salwa Judum
DGP VISHWA RANJAN: Why Are Justice And The Law Being Trampled Into Dirt By The Police In Chhattisgarh?
In the Indian State of Chhattisgarh, tribal communities are being forced off their ancestral lands by the state in the name of fighting a violent Maoist insurgency. Government security forces and a state-supported civilian militia, the Salwa Judum, have destroyed hundreds of villages and uprooted several hundred thousand people from their homes over the last three years.
We, a coalition of individuals and organizations desiring peace, justice, and human rights for the people of Chhattisgarh, condemn violence in all forms by all parties involved—the State, the Salwa Judum, and the Maoist insurgency. The state has a particular responsibility to ensure not only that it stays within legal bounds, but also that it does not enable proxies to perform extra-judicial acts. But in Chhattisgarh, Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, as the Director-General of Police (DGP) of Chhattisgarh, not only heads a police force responsible for widespread violence and brutality against tribal communities , but also one which supports, enables, arms, and legitimizes the Salwa Judum.
Mr. Vishwa Ranjan goes after anyone who speaks out against the Salwa Judum, or questions the high-handed, brutal and illegal actions of the police in its purported drive to put down the insurgency. Ranjan labels all those who oppose him or question his actions as “Maoist sympathizers,” and if they continue to speak out, they are likely to end up in prison, charged with “anti-national” activities—as has happened to Dr. Binayak Sen, a distinguished doctor, public health activist, and civil rights leader.
Now Mr. Vishwa Ranjan is to speak at a seminar on Indian Democracy at the University of California, Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, while simultaneously denying freedom of speech for journalists, human rights activists, and the people of Chhattisgarh.
Join us in challenging Vishwa Ranjan as he defends police-state tactics at this open forum
Justice and the Law: Case Study of Chhattisgarh
SATURDAY 09/27, 2.30 PM
Barrows Hall, 8th Floor, Lipman Room
University of California, Berkeley
Ask the DGP
Why do you justify state brutality and repression of the citizenry?
Demand that the DGP
STOP supporting Salwa Judum
STOP imprisoning human rights activists
STOP silencing voices of dissent in Chhattisgarh
DROP CHARGES against and RELEASE Political Prisoners
Friends of South Asia – Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
Campaign to Stop Funding Hate – Hesperian Foundation, Berkeley
People’s Health Movement, USA – Sanhati
|What is the Salwa Judum?
Salwa Judum members.
What is the CSPSA, why is it a Black Law?
Who are the Maoist insurgents (Naxalites) in Chhattisgarh?
|Who is Dr. Binayak Sen? Why is he in jail?|
||Dr. Binayak Sen is a pediatrician, public health specialist and Vice President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He has served the poorest and most marginalized communities in the interior and tribal areas of Chhatisgarh for over 25 years. In April 2008, Dr. Sen was awarded the Jonathan Mann award, the highest international honor in Global Health and Human Rights.
Dr. Sen has been a prominent critic of the Salwa Judum and the Government’s high-handed tactics in the State, and has participated in many investigations that exposed these violations. Sixteen months ago Dr. Sen was arrested on false charges of sedition under the CSPSA “Black Law.”
1.“Being Neutral is our Biggest Crime: Government, Vigilante and Naxalite Abuses in India’s Chhattisgarh State. “ Human Rights Watch, July 2008.
2. “When the State Makes War on its Own People”. A report by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and four other Indian human rights organizations, 2006.
3.“India: All Sides Using Children in Chhattisgarh Conflict.” Human Rights Watch, Sep 2008
4. “Salwa Judum and the tale of 644 deserted villages”. Rediff.com, Sep 2008.
5. Memo to President of India on the CSPS Bill . People’s Union For Democratic Rights (PUDF), Mar 2006.
6. “Journalists in trouble when reporting on tribes”. Reporters Without Borders, 2006.
REPEAL the Black Laws! DISBAND the Salwa Judum!
RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, Including Dr. Binayak Sen!
Mr. Vishwa Ranjan, Director-General of Police, Chhattisgarh
We, concerned members of university and college faculties, write to condemn the ongoing violations of the human and civil rights of its citizens by the state of Chhattisgarh, primarily through the agency of your department, the Chhattisgarh police force. These violations include the arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention of hundreds of people, including Dr. Binayak Sen, an internationally respected provider of medical services to Chhattisgarh’s tribal communities, threats and assaults against civil liberties activists, lawyers and journalists, and most egregious of all, the growing depredations of the state security forces, including the police and the so-called special police officers (SPOs), as well as the state-sponsored violent militia known as the Salwa Judum. We regret to note that not only have you been unsuccessful in halting these violations of human rights, but you have actively justified them and accused anyone opposing them as “demoralis[ing] the state machinery.”
In a report released this past July, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented in detail the human rights abuses committed by the Salwa Judum against civilians in Chhattisgarh. HRW’s report gives the lie to your oft repeated claim that the Salwa Judum is a spontaneous unarmed peaceful anti-Naxalite movement by documenting eyewitness accounts of “police participating in violent Salwa Judum raids on villages – killing, looting, and burning their hamlets.”1 Similar to earlier investigative reports by the Independent Citizen’s Initiative and a joint report by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and People’s Union for Democratic Rights, among others, the HRW report also documents the arbitrary detentions and torture of villagers by the Chhattisgarh police. Reporters without Borders noted with concern that “[journalists] are prevented from reporting and investigating by corrupt politicians, police and Salwa Judum members, many receiving harassment, intimidation and beating … Currently journalists report from press releases produced by the government or risk their life and career by reporting objectively both sides of the struggle.”2
Perhaps the best-known case of a non-violent dissenter being arrested and jailed in Chhattisgarh is that of Dr. Binayak Sen, a prominent and early critic of the Salwa Judum and of state violence. Dr. Sen, a physician serving the poorest and most marginalized communities in the interior and tribal areas of Chhattisgarh for more than 25 years, has been a guiding light for peace and community health. He has won many awards for his work, including the Paul Harrison Award in 2004 from CMC Vellore, his alma mater, from which he had been graduated over 30 years ago following a most distinguished academic career, and most recently the Jonathan Mann Award from the Global Health Council in May 2008. Binayak Sen appears to have earned the government’s ire by being a vocal critic of the high-handed and illegal ways adopted by the state in the name of suppressing the Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh. For instance, investigations by ETV-Madhya Pradesh and others had exposed that 12 alleged Maoists, killed by the police in Santoshpur village in a supposed gunfight on March 31, 2007, were unarmed tribals executed at close range. Dr. Sen’s insistence, along with others, finally forced the Chhattisgarh State Human Rights Commission to take note of this investigation and order the bodies of the victims exhumed. Shortly afterward, Dr. Sen was arrested.3 Not only have you and the state prosecutor failed to present any legally valid evidence against Dr. Sen, the responsible police officers appear to be blatantly concocting fables and planting false evidence.4
Other citizens who have been harrassed by the police include: Amarnath Pandey and DP Yadav, two lawyers who had filed lawsuits regarding the ‘encounter killing’ of one Narayan Khairwar and the custodial rape of one Ledha Bai; filmmaker Ajay TG, a member of the State Executive Committee of the Chhattisgarh Unit of PUCL, and journalist Sai Reddy, both of whom had to be released on bail when the police failed to file a chargesheet even after ninety days; Himanshu Kumar of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, an NGO that implements implements government programs on health, nutrition, and education, for the ‘crime’ of assisting fact-finding teams investigating human rights abuses; journalists Santosh Poonyem and Kamlesh Paikra for daring to write about the violence committed by Salwa Judum; and even the participants at the third annual meeting of Chhattisgarh Net (www.cgnet.in), an online citizen journalism initiative.
It bears noting that such actions by the law enforcement machinery of any state are not only in violation of the laws of India, but also run counter to India’s international treaty obligations. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), which India acceded to in 1979, declares in relevant part that:
- All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. (Article 1.1)
- Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. (Article (6.1)
- No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. (Article 7)
- Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. (Article 9.1)
- Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation. (Article 9.5)
- All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. (Article 10.1)5
We strongly urge you, as the highest police official in the state of Chhattisgarh, to:
- Follow in letter and spirit, the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution and the CCPR.
- Stop encouraging an all-out civil war in Chhattisgarh through your support of the Salwa Judum. The extra-judicial killings by the state security forces and the SPOs are so distasteful and blatant that the Supreme Court of India recently noted that this amounts to abetment of murder by state officials. Excesses committed by the security forces, as documented in a recent NHRC report, were deemed “very painful to read” by the Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India.
- Stop victimizing dissenters in Chhattisgarh. Drop all charges against political prisoners, including Dr Binayak Sen, filmmaker Mr. Ajay TG, journalist Mr. Saii Reddy. Release all political prisoners unconditionally, pay compensation for the harassment and loss of liberty they have suffered due to their unwarranted detention, and arrest and prosecute state officials and police officers involved in harassing, arresting and holding all these political prisoners.
- Ensure a just and honest governance that improves the lives of millions of desperately poor people in Chhattisgarh.
We must protest human rights violations in Chattisgarh. The Chief of Police who has been silencing dissent and as Salwa Judum spreads terror in the interior tribal villages, is visiting California this week. Please read on:
Himanshu Kumar, who has been working for more than 15 years with Vanvasi Chetana Ashram in the tribal villages of Dantewara, in Chattisgarh, has sent this message about the Peace March they are taking through the villages:
“We are starting a padayatra from Errabore today. Our padyatra will end on 2nd October, Gandhijis birthday in Dornapal. We plan to cover 22 interior villages in 12 days. We are a group of 14 volunteers from Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, including 3 girls. Our night halt today will be at Nendra village….”
Meanwhile, the Director-General of Police, Mr. Vishwa Ranjan is visiting Berkeley California, to speak at a seminar on “Indian Democracy.”
Concerned individuals are planning to raise tough questions for the DGP at this seminar. Concerned faculty are endorsing a letter to present to the DGP in Berkeley. If you are / know faculty who would like to see & sign this letter pls respond to paravinda gmail.com with your name, title and affiliation.
Himanshu Kumar has a question for the DGP of Chattisgarh:
Why have FIRs have not been filed against the Salwa Judum/ SPOs/ Police officers?
1. On 18th March 2008, three tribals living in Matwada Salwa Judum camp in Bijapur district, under the protection of police and SPOs, were brutally killed by the salwa judum/police. The attackers started beating them up at 4 pm and continued beating them for 4 hours till they were finally killed at around 8 pm–their eyes were gouged out and their heads beaten with rocks.
Himanshu ji took the three widows to meet with the DGP. He listened to them and consoled them and told them that such atrocities will not happen again. But later, he claimed that Himanshu ji had lied about this incident, and claimed in court documents that the widows are making false accusations under the influence of the Naxalites. The police has refused to file any FIRs on this matter
More about this incident can be read (in Hindi) here
2. On August 11th, 2008, Salwa Judum/police visited the Arlampalli village and killed 5 people who were engaged in agriculture at that point. The village people claim that they were involved peacefully working in the fields at the time they were killed by the police. They were not threatening the police in any manner. Again, Himanshuji took the parents of one and the wife of another deceased person to meet with the SP of Dantewada, where they complained to him that the police killed their loved ones with no justification. Once again, no FIR was filed.
More information here (again in Hindi): (including the report by Himanshu ji, and petitions by parents and wife of deceased).
If you can BE IN BERKELEY to demand that the DGP STOP supporting Salwa Judum, STOP imprisoning human rights activists, STOP silencing voices of dissent in Chattisgarh and DROP CHARGES against and RELEASE political prisoners including Dr. Binayak Sen, Ajay TG and others, please go to Barrows Hall on Saturday Sept 26 at 2 pm and make your voice COUNT.
This Saturday, come question Vishwa Ranjan, the head police official in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, where police are responsible for:
- jailing public health activist and civil rights leader Dr. Binayak Sen
- widespread violence & brutality against the states’s Tribal communities
- supporting and arming a militia which has razed 100s of villages and uprooted several hundred thousand people from their homes since 2005
Ranjan will be speaking at a conference at UC Berkeley on Saturday, and we need your help to ask him the tough questions that his local critics haven’t been able to ask. Join us, in solidarity with the embattled Tribal communities of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh!
Stand up to Chhattisgarh DGP Vishwa Ranjan
The Berkeley Conference on Indian Democracy
Saturday 9/27, 2:00 pm
8th Floor, Barrows Hall
Call for endorsements:
critical for us to speak out.
We ask you to:
1. Endorse our flyer by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Express your solidarity with the people of Chhattisgarh by attending the panel and supporting our representative who has been invited to participate in the panel to challenge the DGP:
Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley
Saturday, September 27, 2:00pm (show up at 1:30pm)
STOP supporting Salwa Judum,
STOP imprisoning human rights activists,
STOP silencing voices of dissent in Chhattisgarh
DROP CHARGES against and RELEASE political prisoners,
(compiled by Ilina Sen, August 2008)
- Dr. Binayak Sen was arrested on May 14, 2007. He was charged under sections Section 2(b) (d), 8(1, 2 & 5) of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005.of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), sections under Sections 10(a)(1), 20, 21, 38, 39.2(b) & (d) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 of the UAPA, and sections 121A and 120 B of the IPC.
- He continues to be incarcerated in jail despite widespread national and international public outcry. Bail application was dismissed by the Supreme Court without a reason being provided.
- In his trial which began a year after his arrest, and has been proceeding since May 2008, the state has produced no credible evidence or witnesses in support of his case, despite repeated dark claims of the existence of such. Evidence tampering and fabrication have been observed in court.
- Dr Sen is a 58 year old paediatrician and public health physician with a 25 year record of providing health care to the adivasi people of Chhattisgarh. His path breaking work has been recognized through the various awards, the Paul Harrison award from his alma mater, the CMC Vellore (2004), the RR Keithan Gold medal from the Indian Academy of Social Sciences (2007), and the Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights from the Global Health Council (2008).
- Dr Sen was also closely involved with civil liberties and human rights work- he was first drawn to this area through his investigations into hunger deaths and the causes of malnutrition in Chhattisgarh, the “Rice Bowl of India.” He was General Secretary of the state unit of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and its National Vice President.
Read the rest of this entry »
A brief report of the public meeting with Ajay TG in Pune, organised the day before yesterday.
Public meeting with Ajay TG in Pune on 20th September
Yesterday (20th September 08) the ‘Release Dr. Binayak Sen committee’ in Pune organized a well attended public meeting and also a separate smaller discussion with activists, with Ajay TG as the main speaker. As we all know, Ajay TG is a film maker and PUCL activist from Bhilai who was imprisoned for three months by the Chhattisgarh government, and was released recently since there was no evidence and the police could not even file a chargesheet against him.
The public meeting was attended by over a hundred citizens of Pune and was presided over by Justice PB Sawant, retired Supreme court judge. Besides Ajay, the meeting was also addressed by the noted film maker Anand Patwardhan and the human rights lawyer, Asim Sarode, and was moderated by Anant Phadke. The meeting started with screening of the films ‘New State, Old Problems’ and ‘Anjaam’ (directed by Ajay TG) which graphically depicted the growing repression in Chhattisgarh, the problematic nature of Salwa Judum and of course the background to Binayak’s arrest.
In his address, Ajay TG brought home to the audience very effectively the almost surreal circumstances of his arrest and imprisonment. With no charges, no evidence and no basis to even suspect his doing anything illegal, he was picked up on 4th May and put in jail, without even allowing him to meet his lawyer or family. He described the sub-human circumstances in the jail, the tremendous demonisation by media of himself and his family leading to cutting off all forms of social support, and the highly biased nature of the entire law and order machinery in the state. His only ‘crime’ was that he was persistently attending Binayak’s trial hearings and as a PUCL activist he dared to not be cowed down despite the widespread repression.
When the police finally realized that they had nothing that could be held against Ajay, and he would have to be released, in a last-ditch attempt the police tried to make him sign on a document indicting Binayak of having links with Maoists, which Ajay bravely refused to comply with. Delivered in a simple and straightforward style, Ajay’s story was really chilling since it gave a glimpse of the kind of ‘undeclared Emergency’ that today prevails in Chhattisgarh, and seems to be rapidly developing in many other parts of the country.
Events of the Third Phase of Dr. Binayak Sen’s Trial & Incidents Preceeding Ajay TG’s Bail
Since Dr. Sen’s trial is disproving the prosecution’s case the police is openly trying to fabricate evidence both inside and outside the court. The police even tried to use Ajay’s TG legitimate release against Dr. Sen, hence the events of both the cases have been written together
The third phase of the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen case began on the 29th of July and lasted till July 31st. The key witnesses, the material witnesses had already deposed in the first two phases of the trial and some were tendered off. The subsequent witnesses were to be mostly seizure witnesses or police and jail personnel. Since most of the 20 witnesses who had deposed in the first two rounds of the trial had in no way confirmed the police case, the prosecution in an act of desperation had filed an application of recalling three of the witnesses who had deposed in the second phase between the 1st of July and the 4th of July. This was slated for argument in the course of these three days.
This was also the period when it became clear that charge sheet was not being filed in the Ajay TG case and that statutory bail was imminent however, we were suddenly filled with the hope that perhaps the case itself would be closed as Ajay had not committed any criminal act and hence there was no evidence to that effect.
29th July. 2008
No hearing happened as a senior member of the bar had passed away. Before we reached the Court, Dr. Binayak Sen, Pijush Guha and Narayan Sanyal had been already taken away to the jail. We were very disappointed that we had missed him.
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