Archive for January, 2011
The Hindu, January 31: Nearly five weeks after human rights activist and medical practitioner Binayak Sen was convicted on charges of sedition and awarded life sentence by the Raipur Sessions Court, protests demanding his immediate release continued here on Sunday with his 84-year-old mother Anasuya Sen taking to the streets demanding justice for her son.
Ms. Sen said, “This fight is not against an individual…. It is against injustice. Laws like Section 124(a) of the IPC have no place in a free country. What else can one call it but anarchy, that the State would convict a person for sedition when he has worked for its people for 30 years. I only want to say that those who have knowingly done this injustice that this will not continue in our country.”
She joined the rally because she wanted to prove that she could fight as a mother, so that no prison could hold back any son illegally.
She had come to the rally all the way form her home in Kalyani in Nadia district to participate in the rally, organised by various rights organisations that observed January 30 as International Protest Day.
She said that if the need arose, she would also go to Delhi to press for her demand to release her son.
“I hope that he will be released soon and will be able to get back to his work with his head held high,” Ms. Sen said.
Social activists belonging to the ‘Release Binayak Sen committee – Pune’ organised a public demonstration in Pune on 30thJanuary, demanding the release of Dr. Binayak Sen as part of the global day of protest. The demonstration began at 11 am at Majoor Adda, by paying homage to martyrs of the freedom struggle. Subsequently the procession walked down Laxmi Road (one of the major roads of the city) shouting slogans like ‘Dr. Binayak Sen ko riha karo!’, ‘Chhattisgarh sarkar hosh mein aao!’ and ‘Julmi kayade radda kara!’ (repeal repressive laws).
Resonating with the ‘jail bharo’ agitation in other areas, another slogan raised was – ‘Dr. Binayak Sen yana mukta kara – nahi tar amhala atak kara!’ (Release Dr. Binayak Sen – otherwise arrest all of us too’). Pamphlets on the issue were distributed to bystanders and the general public. An additional demand raised was asking the Maharashtra police to withdraw cases against Dr. Ilina Sen, who has been harassed on spurious charges after the IAWS conference in Wardha.
The rally culminated at Mandai, with a short public meeting where Milind Chavan, Manisha Gupte, Neeraj Jain, Shanta Ranade and Abhay Shukla briefly spoke on the need to continue the struggle for democracy, and for many more people to join the campaign for release of Dr. Binayak Sen.
Basanti Colony, Ultadanga– Dr. Sumitran Basu, Dr. Soumya Kanti Bag, Dr. Moloy Bar and Dr. Ratul Banerjee served 120 patients in this fire devastated slum of Ultadanga.
Jamespur, Gosaba, Sundarbans– Dr. Chayan Datta Roy, Dr. Punyabrata Gun and Dr. Sumit Das examined 38 patients at Jamespur village of the riverine island Dayapur in the Gosaba block of Sundarbans in South 24 parganas.
The next medical camp will be held at Kamarhati industrial area of North Kolkata.
There were protests all over the country demanding the Release of Dr. Binayak Sen and others who have been similarly targetted along with the demand of scrapping the sedition law.
More than 2000 people marched from Red Fort to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park in New Delhi demanding the release of Dr. Sen and the scrapping of the law on sedition. Large numbers of trade unions, students and social activists joined the rally. Amongst those present included NAPM leader Medha Patkar and CPI leader D.Raja.
In Raipur more than a thousand people marched the streets, in Jaipur more than 250 people courted arrest, in Indore hundreds of people formed a human chain, In Varanasi more than forty organisations took out a 3 kilometer Shanti and Satyagarh Yatra. There was a candel light vigil in Bangalore and Lucknow, In Ranchi too there was a march in the city, In Sitapur, in UP the bar association along with other organisations passed a resolution demanding the release of Dr Sen.
In Mumbai a protest meeting was held in Shramik Hall, In Hyderabad similarly several organisations got together and organised a public meeting and in Vadodra too PUCL members organised a protest. In Kolkata, over 1000 protesters marched from College Square to Metro Channel on January 30, Sunday demanding unconditional release of Dr. Binayak Sen and others implicated in false cases. Anusuya Sen, mother of Dr. Sen marched with the protesters.
In Assam several activists signed a petition and sent it to the President of India.
Several cities are having protest after January 30th too.
More than two hundred and fifty people courted arrest in Jaipur on Martyrs day, the 30th of January, demanding the release of Dr. Binayak Sen, scrapping the law on sedition and asserting the right to dissent. Shouting slogans “Hum Sab Binayak Sen, Hum Sab Jail Jayenge, Agar Sach Kahna Rajdroh Hai Toh Samjho Hum Bhi Rajdrohi Hain”, the arrests were led by eminent activist Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Dr. Pawan Surana, EX-Chairperson of the State Women’s Commission, Gandhian Sawai Singh, Dalit leader Tek Chand Rahul, Farmers leader from Ganganagar Mani Ram Punia, Doctors – Alka Rao, Narendra Gupta, Mita Singh, Prem Krishan Sharma, PUCL, President among the hundreds of women’s groups rep, trade unionist, students, workers, Gandhians etc who were present. The rally followed the public meeting held at Gandhi Circle today. A memorandum demanding Dr. Sen’s release and scrapping of the sedition law was handed over to the ADM Ram Avatar Meena,
The programme began with a two minute silence and writer P.C Gandhi read out the statement of Mahatma Gandhi made before the judge on March 23rd 1922 on sedition, an excerpt is given here “Section 124-A, under which I am happily charged, is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizens. Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law. If one has disaffection for a person or system, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, so long as he does not contemplate, promote or incite to violence“. This began the debate on scrapping sedition.
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Report by Sudha Bharadwaj
Despite the fascist propaganda and repression in the State of Chhattisgarh nearly a thousand workers, peasants, students and intellectuals – half of them women, marched from Raipur Railway Station to Budha Talab on 30th January Shaheed Divas to demand:
- RELEASE DR. BINAYAK SEN, KARTAM JOGA, KOPARAM KUNJAM AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS UNJUSTLY INCARCERATED!
- REPEAL THE COLONIAL PROVISION OF 124A (SEDITION) AND THE CHHATTISGARH SPECIAL PUBLIC SECURITY ACT WHICH MAKE EVERY DISSENT A CRIME!
- DEFFEND THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE TO OPPOSE THE LOOT OF “JAL, JANGAL, JAMEEN”!
The programme was jointly organised by the CPI, CPI(ML), Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, CPI(ML) Liberation, Gondwana Gantantra Party, CMM (Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti), Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh Visthapan Virodhi Manch, Ekta Parishad, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, Chhattisgarh PUCL and many others.
The public meeting was presided over by Shri Hira Singh Markam, the respected elder of Gondwana Gantantra Party and addressed among others by Shri Balchandra Khushwaha (Gandhian intellectual), Com Soura Yadav (CPI(ML)), Ms Bela Bhatia (Researcher), Com Manish Kunjam (Adivasi Mahasabha), Com Rajaram (CPI(ML) Liberation), Ms Sudha Bharadwaj (Chhattisgarh Visthapan Virodhi Manch), Shri Gautam Bandhopadhyay (Nadi Ghati Morcha), Dr Shaibal Jana (Shaheed Hospital), Com CR Bakshi (CPI), Shri Salimuddin (Ekta Parishad), Shri Rajendra Sail (ex President Chhattisgarh PUCL), and Com Janaklal Thakur (Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha). Smt Bhagwanti Bai Banjare, Shri Kaladas Dehariya and Smt Budhan Meshram added colour to the meeting by their singing songs of struggle.
On a day marked by rallies across the country, and in certain cities in North America and the United Kingdom to protest the life sentence handed down to paediatrician and rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen, about 700 people convened in the town of his residence in Raipur, Chhattisgarh to demand Dr. Sen’s release.
The protest was organised by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (of which Dr. Sen was the Chhattisgarh Secretary at the time of his release), the Communist Party of India, Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, the Adivasi Mahasabha and people’s organisations like the Ekta Parishad, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan. The date of the rally coincided with Shaheed Divas, the day Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated in 1948.
Protesters marched from the Railway Station to the designated protest spot at Burdha Talab in the heart of the city. Speakers brought attention to the arrest and sentencing of Dr Sen, who was convicted of committing sedition and supporting the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and sentenced to life imprisonment on December 24 last year. Dr. Sen’s bail petition is due for hearing on February 9 this year.
Speakers at the meeting demanded that the government stop targeting innocents in the name of fighting the Maoists and release of Kartam Joga and Koparam Kunjam. Mr. Joga was arrested last year on suspicions of participating in the Tarmetla ambush in which 76 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed by the CPI(Maoist). He is also a petitioner in a Supreme Court petition alleging that the state government was responsible for arming the controversial Salwa Judum programme. Social activist Koparam Kunjam has also been arrested on charges of aiding the Maoists.
Flyers distributed by protesters asked for the removal of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act of 2005 and the colonial era sedition law, and stated that opposing the polices of the government was not the same as supporting the Maoists or committing sedition.
Date: 30th January 2011
Time: 11am : Remembering Gandhi’s Martyrdom
11.30 Am Onwards: Remembering Gandhi On Sedition And Demanding The Scrapping of the Law On Sedition, Demanding Dr. Sen’s Release Now.
Venue: Gandhi Circle, opposite Kanodia College, JLN Marg, Jaipur
On the 30th of January, 2011, as a part of the response to the national call given against the travesty of justice in the Dr. Binayak Sen case, demanding the release of Dr. Binayak Sen now and immediate scrapping of the law on sedition, it was decided that a programme should take place at Gandhi Circle in the morning.
The Programme would begin with a two minute silence at 11 am paying our respects to Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom followed by a Sarva Dharma Prathana till 11.30am. This would be followed by a two hour discussion on the above subject. The Eminent activist Ms Aruna Roy, Kamla Bhasin and legal luminaries former Justice Panna Chand Jain, Senior advocate S R Bajwa, Ajay Kumar Jain will be speaking. Senior Advocate Prem Krishnaji would chair it. Sawaiji would be the Moderator.
It may be recalled that the 30th January is Martyrs Day, The campaign against sedition will be kicked off in this country on this day as Gandhi also opposed this section. He was convicted several times for Sedition and he wrote a lot against this section in the Indian IPC. Please see attachment for his views on sedition
The meeting will end with people courting arrest.
We hope that you will cover the meeting demanding justice for Dr. Binayak Sen, scrapping the sedition law and strengthening democratic rights.
Prem Krishna Shrama & Radhakant Saxena (People’s Union for Civil liberties, Rajasthan), Dr. Narendra Gupta & Chhaya (Prayas and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan), Hitendra Upadhyay (Sambhav), Prof Salim (Jamait Islami Hind), P.L Mimroth (Centre for Dalit Rights), Sawai Singh (Samgra Sewa Kendra), Prem Ranjan (Action-Aid), Nishat Hussein (National Muslim Welfare Society), Nisha Sidhu (NFIW), Mewa Bharti (Rajasthan Gheralu Kamgaar Union), Kailash Chand Kumbhakar (Academy for Social Sciences), Komal Srivastava (Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti), Rashid (Human Development Society), Prof Hasan (IRADA), Shiv Singh (Allaripu), Rajaram Bhadu (Samantar), Vijay Goyal (SIRD), Chaju Ram Jat (Rozi Roti Adhikar Samuh, Phagi), Minakshi (Pravah).
Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation was killed by a fanatic on this day. Not much has been learnt by the nation in terms of honoring people who have sacrificed themselves for fellow beings….
The life sentence awarded to Dr.Binayak Sen, is a glaring example. The Doctor has been awarded life sentence for sedition. Sedition called as the ‘prince’ of all sections of the IPC by M.K.Gandhi, who himself was on numerous occasions booked under the charge.
To reflect on the state of affairs, we plan to sit on a day long fast in front of the Martry’s stone opposite the Collectorate. Do join us.
The day long fast will bring in new reflections hopefully.
Green Regards …
To join contact – 9443248582/ 9244504695
Timing – 8 am to 6 pm