Archive for April, 2009
World Sikh News
Been thinking of doctors of late.
First, some budding doctors at a medical college in Tanda, Himachal Pradesh. In the middle of learning about anatomy and disease and healing and whatever else prospective doctors study , these young men took a break. I mean, sure, all hard-working students need a break every now and then, why not these guys?
So they took a break and set out to rag some freshers in their college. As part of this noble, time-honoured tradition, they beat up one of those freshers: Aman Kachroo, who wanted to be a doctor one day .
Instead, he ended up a victim of four young men — Ajay Verma, Abhinav Verma, Naveen Verma and Mukul Sharma — who ostensibly wanted to be doctors too.
Instead, Aman ended up dead.
It’s a tragic, nauseating story.
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Mumbai Readies for Observing May 14: The Second Anniversary of Dr. Binayak Sen’s Unjust Imprisonment
Dr, Binayak sen, an award-winning doctor with brilliant academic records – who had settled in Raipur with the mission of serving the poor and oppressed adivasis – and a leading human rights activist – national Vice President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and its state Secretary – is languishing behind the bars as a result of vindictive actions by the state government of Chattisgarh for almost two years by now.
He was thrown behind bars on May 14 2007 on trumped up charges under draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2004 (UAPA). As a result he is persistently denied bail, even if the charges have been framed and the case is crumbling.
The central charge that he was smuggling letters to and from an ailing and elderly imprisoned Maoist leader, Narayan Sanyal, in the Raipur jail whom he had been visiting both as a human rights activist and a doctor of some repute with the express permission of the concerned jailor is just ridiculous. For the simple reason that as per the norms laid down by the jail manual he used to be thoroughly searched while going in and coming out of the jail premises.
The imprisonment is an obvious act of revenge as Dr. Sen had played a stellar role in drawing national and international attention to the gross and large-scale atrocities perpetrated by Salwa Judum, a private militia set up by the state government, purportedly to fight out Maoist insurgency in the Bastar region. Dr. Sen’s efforts indeed succeeded in significant measures. So much so that even the Indian Supreme Court April last year passed a stricture against the state government in this regard. The arrest is also meant to be chilling message to all others not to mess with the state government and its brutal and evidently illegal Salwa Judum campaign.
Both nationally and internationally renowned figures – including retired Supreme Court judge and famous jurist V R Krishna Iyer, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky, leading doctors and 22 Nobel laureates – have appealed for his release. The internationally esteemed medical journal The Lancet in its current April issue has stingingly critiqued the Indian judicial system. The Amnesty International and other national and international human rights organisations have appealed for his release.
Yet he still remains behind the bars.
Not only that, as he is suffering from life threatening heart problems a local medical specialist under the trial court’s instruction examined him and referred to the Christian Medical College in Vellore, his alma mater, for further diagnosis and treatment on urgent basis. Yet, the local administration is blocking even that even if he is ready to bear the costs of his own medical treatment. Apparently in a bid to snuff life out of this intrepid fighter.
Outraged Mumbai, in solidarity with Dr. Sen and his life’s mission, is holding protest gatherings every Monday afternoon starting from April 27. Flyers are being distributed. And signatures from common citizens collected appealing the Chief Justice of India for his immediate release. A wide cross-section of Mumbaikars – trade unionists, feminists, lawyers doctors, students, teachers, journalists, human rights and social activists – has come together on a single platform to give voice to their righteous anger.
And the coming May 14, on the occasion of the second anniversary of Dr. Sen’s imprisonment, a public meet will be held at the Dhuru Hall, Dadar (W) at 6 30 PM. This will follow a morcha by protestors donning specially designed T-shirts displaying (caged) Binayak and the calls to free him and defend the precious right to dissent. In the meeting, apart from prominent speakers, well-known and young artistes will perform. There will be songs, recitations, reading out of original compositions by the poets. Protests paintings would also be on display.
Preparations are in full swing to make the event a roaring success.
Lalit Mehta Sahadat Divas: A day of solidarity with NREGA activists and protest against state repression
On 14 May 2008, Lalit Mehta was brutally murdered in Palamau District, just as a social audit of NREGA was about to begin in the area. One year later, on 14 May 2009, a public meeting (“aam sabha”) will be taking place in Daltonganj to remember Lalit and also to protest against state repression of NREGA activists in Jharkhand and elsewhere.
Ever since the Act came into force three years ago, NREGA activists have been a prime target of state repression. In Jharkhand, Lalit Mehta’s tragic death was quickly followed by the murder of Kameshwar Yadav, the suicide of Tapas Soren, and a spate of other NREGA-related deaths. Similar incidents have occurred in Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and elsewhere. Hundreds of NREGA activists have also been jailed under false charges or beaten up. The time has come to raise our voice, together, against these human rights violations.
As it happens, 14 May 2009 will also be the second anniversary of Binayak Sen’s arrest in Raipur. This abuse of power, too, needs to be opposed.
You are invited to join this solidarity day. The programme will start around 9.30 am and conclude in the evening with candlelight procession and cultural programme. Please stay for the full duration is possible (simple accommodation will be available in Daltonganj on 14th). Daltonganj can be reached by bus or train from Ranchi, Patna, Varanasi and Allahabad.
This event is an initiative of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Jharkhand. For further information please contact Vikas Sahyog Kendra (06566-285 483), James Herenj (09470396732), Jawahar (09430126909), Gurjeet (09431120534) or Mithilesh (09431193202).
Ayojan Samiti, Lalit Mehta Sahadat Divas
(Ajit, Birender, Gurjeet, James, Jawahar, Sunita)
This Monday(27th April) in the early evening over 50 protesters gathered outside Churchgate station to condemn the continued incarceration of noted health care worker Dr. Binayak Sen and demand his immediate release. The group was eclectic and comprised union workers, doctors, students, teachers and journalists. The protesters wore black t-shirts calling for the state to “free Dr. Binayak Sen” and calling for people to “defend the right to dissent”.
Despite the absence of any credible evidence against Dr. Sen, the government has denied him access to bail or adequate healthcare. The protesters handed out flyers describing these egregious actions and pointing out that several eminent national and international bodies including a group of 22 Nobel Laureates, the noted medical journal Lancet and the Indian Academy of Social Sciences had expressed concern over these events.
At the protest, activists solicited signatures on a letter to the chief justice demanding that Dr. Sen be granted bail, access to healthcare and a speedy trial. The reponse from onlookers was enthusiastic and over 200 signatures were collected in some one and a half hours. Some bystanders joined in and even stayed back for a subsequent planning meeting for the May 14 public event and many promised to come to subsequent rallies.
Committee for the Release of Dr Binayak Sen, Mumbai
‘If Dr Raman Singh knows something that his government’s prosecutors don’t then he should be brave enough to come to Binayak’s trial as one of the witnesses and present the evidence. Mere insinuations won’t do anymore’. Editors
Bhopal , Apr 28 : Amid a demand by rights bodies for the release Binayak Sen, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today alleged that the activist, detained since May 2007 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, had enjoyed”close relations”with those involved in naxal movement.
“Dr Binayak Sen has close relations with the people associated with the naxal movement and as far as the issue of his release is concerned, his bail plea is pending in the apex court,” Singh told reporters yesterday.
PUCL had first filed a PIL challenging Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 in the Supreme Court, but the SC had said that since it is a state law, it should be challenged in the high court. At long last, the CSPSA is now being challenged in the CG high court.
Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, Apr 28 : The Chhattisgarh High Court has accepted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging constitutionality of the much-debated Special Public Security Act (SPSA) 2005 for consideration.
A joint bench of Justices Dheerendra Mishra and Rangnath Chandrakar has issued a show cause notice to the Centre and the state government and asked reply within four weeks while hearing the PIL of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) General Secretary Pushkar Raj and PUCL President Rajendra Sayal yesterday.
Petitioners’ counsel Sudha Bharadwaj said in the petition that the state government has passed and implemented the SPSA on March 2005 and the law constituted under the Act is illegal and anti-people.
It was said in the petition that in this Act the definition of illegal activities and legal organisation is ambiguous. It includes every kind of democratic protest and orgsanisation.
It is the deprivation of fundamental and democratic rights provided by the Constitution hence it should be cancelled, said in the petition.
28 April 2009
The year-long trial of Indian human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen suffered another delay on Monday, further prolonging the doctor’s unjust stay in jail.
Dr Sen’s trial has been adjourned for a month. Also, he continues to be deprived of specialist medical care at a place of his choice, despite fears for his health.
Dr Sen, a pioneer of health care to marginalized and indigenous communities in Chhattisgarh state, has languished in jail for two years. He was arrested on 14 May 2007 and was charged with facilitating armed Maoist violence.
Amnesty International believes that the charges and evidence against Dr Sen are baseless and politically motivated. It has called on the Indian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Dr Sen.
11th Kappen Memorial Lecture
Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Democracy and Dissent in India Today
Prof. Ilina Sen
5.00 p.m. 30 April 2009
Institution of Agricultural Technologists
15, Queens Road, Bangalore 560 052. Ph: 080- 22384175
Pune :‘The doctor appointed by the court has recommended that Sen should be sent to CMC Vellore for heart treatment’
People from various walks of life in Pune on Monday issued an open letter to L K Advani, Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, asking for his intervention to ensure the speedy release of Dr Binayak Sen.
The BJP leads the government in Chhattisgarh which is responsible for keeping Sen in jail since nearly two years without any evidence, the letter said. The letter states that the Chhattisgarh government “continues to oppose even the bail application for this public-spirited doctor and civil liberties activist. Until now the trial of Dr Sen has not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him.”
This open letter has been signed by personalities from different fields including Bhai Vaidya, Baba Adhav, Justice B G Kolse-Patil, Dr Shriram Lagoo, Deepa Lagoo, Vidya Bal, Dr Sulabha Brahme, Prof Jaya Sagade, Atul Pethe, Makarand Sathe, Prof Suhas Palshikar, Prof Yash Sumant, Dr Vinay Kulkarni, Dr Abhijit Vaidya, Dr Nandu Kanade, a press release issued here stated.
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By Aseem Shrivastava
“How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness?
“One man must not kill. If he does it is murder. Two, ten, one hundred men, acting on their own responsibility, must not kill. If they do, it is still murder. But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is no murder. It is just, necessary, commendable and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent.
“But how many does it take? This is the question. Just so with theft, robbery, burglary, and all other crimes. Man-stealing is a great crime in one man, or a very few men only. But a whole nation can commit it, and the act becomes not only innocent, but highly honorable…
“Verily there is magic in numbers! The sovereign multitude can out-legislate the Almighty, at least in their own conceit. But how many does it take? Just enough to make a nation.…Alexander the Great demanded of a pirate, by what right he infested the seas. By the same right, retorted the pirate, that Alexander ravages the world. How far was he from the truth?”
- Adin Ballou, American social reformer and abolitionist (1803-90)
A famous story links two great Americans. When the United States invaded Mexico in 1846, the great naturalist Henry Thoreau, in an act of civil disobedience, refused to pay his taxes as a mark of protest against US actions and was sent to prison for his sin against the state. His close friend and mentor from Harvard, Ralph Waldo Emerson came to see him in jail. Emerson quipped “what are you doing inside?” Thoreau’s reply made Emerson blush. “What are you doing outside ?”, he replied.
There are times when jails become one of the few places of honour left in the world. Where, after all, would you like to find yourself if robbers and murderers were masquerading before the public as magistrates, judges and hangmen?