By Satyen K. Bordoloi | MM Online Bureau
The event, held at a Dadar hall and attended by a packed hall of over 300 people, had an ensemble list of speakers. Internationally renowned criminal lawyer, Advocate Niloufer Bhagwat began with a critique of the judgment against Dr. Sen. “This is a case where there is no evidence to support the judgment. That is the reason for the global outrage against it,” she said adding that, “It is not a judgment but a politically motivated decision.”
Dr. Sanjay Nagral, of Forum for Medical Ethics and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, recounted his encounters through the last three decades with Dr. Binayak Sen. “Binayak did two things different from the rest of us doctors. Firstly he asked fundamental questions about justice and secondly while most of us kept our protection, Binayak did not. What we as doctors only talk about but could not do, he did,” said Dr. Nagral.
Connecting healthcare and justice, Dr. Nagral asked a very fundamental question, “How can a doctor stay unaware of the social realities of the people he treats?”
The over two-hour long public discussion also focused on many other activists who have been imprisoned across the country for different reasons. Darshana Dhawle, wife of journalist and writer Sudhir Dhawle, who had been arrested on Jan 2 for allegedly being a Maoist, got emotional while addressing the audience.
“A man who worked for the poor for 20 year trying to get justice for the oppressed democratically, who taught them to fight for their own rights, how can he be called a naxalite?,” asked Dhawale referring to her husbands work.
Himanshu Kumar, a Gandhian whose ashram was razed by the same Chattisgarh government in 2009, asked the audience, “How come all the alleged traitors are concentrated in the mining belt of the nation?” He wondered about the efficacy of the nation’s judicial system where a scamster who has looted the nation’s citizen of thousands and often lakhs of crores, roams free while a man who works to give medicine and justice to poor tribals is branded a traitor.
Dalit activist and writer Kirti Dhole highlighted the atrocities committed by the state on the lowest strata of the society and their need to unite and fight the system based on the democratic ideals of Dr. B R Ambedkar.
At the end of the public meeting a few resolution were passed with unanimity. These include demanding the state to release those like Dr. Binayak Sen arrested because they highlighted human rights violations and repelling of many unconstitutional acts from different parts of the nation.
Among the attendees at the meeting were many national and global activists, Gandhians, writers, filmmakers and political leaders.