Archive for March, 2011
Amit Sengupta, Hard News
Let’s not forget he is still in jail, in solitary confinement, aoutside the ‘national debate’ on ethics and absence of ethics post Wikileaks, forgotten by the Indian Parliament, and the ‘secular’ ruling regime with its heart beating inside the sacred NAC. He is left to rot, suffocate and die in silence in a Chhattisgarh jail, given life imprisonment on charges of sedition with completely fabricated evidence, hounded, harassed, humiliated and ‘handled’ by the cold-blooded, heartless, inhuman BJP-led Chhattisgarh government and its notorious police.
This is the state where they burnt villages, raped, killed, tortured and put innocents in jail — the Salwa Judum epic which continues till this day. The good doctor protested, documented, classified this narrative, hence, he was condemned and put in jail. They refused to accept his three decades of legendary health work in the most deprived zones of central India, something recognised by the entire world, including the medical fraternity and 50 Noble laureates.
In leadership summits or manufactured media conclaves of sundry celebrities and politicos, mouthing utter inanities, celebrating the clichéd cacophony of compulsive illiteracy, he is not even mentioned. Unlike they do with legendary Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi in international film festivals, jailed for six years and perhaps eternity, and unlike they did in the Lancet annual programme for the good doctor, no one keeps a chair empty as a mark of his absence and presence. He is beyond the demands of constitutional justice, the morality of morality, nowhere in the great debates, historic speeches and poetry read out in Parliament and political power centres, by top leaders of the ruling establishment, the honourable opposition, the scholarly, enlightened prime minister himself.
Three days of cultural events @ Alliance Francaise de Delhi, 72, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 110003
Justice on Trial is a collaborative programme put together by leading contemporary artists, photographers, film makers, musicians, performers, and activists to commemorate struggles for democracy, freedom and rights. An exhibition of photographs and art works, talks performances and screenings all are directed at drawing renewed attention to the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen, who has emerged in recent times as a symbol of courageous resistance, and a reminder of the many injustices that surround us. Our aim is to provoke a dialogue with the colours and sounds that emerge from the idea of what Dr. Sen represents.
April 4 (Monday)
4:00 pm Opening of Art Exhibition (Gallery) / Poster Exhibition
5:00 pm Music: Them Clones / Imphal Talkies (Auditorium)
6:00 pm Film: “AFSPA 1958” (52 mins, 2006, dir: Haobam Paban Kumar) (Audi.)
7:00 pm Panel: Vrinda Grover, in conversation with Prof Ilina Sen, and Aruna Roy
8:00 pm Performance: Arjun Raina / “Like a Bird on a Wire” (35 mins)
April 5 (Tuesday)
10:00 am – Art Exhibition (Gallery) / Poster Exhibition
5:00 pm Music: Manzil / Faith Gonsalves (Audi.)
6:00 pm Film: Prisoners of Conscience (45 mins, 1978, dir: Anand Patwardhan)
7:00 pm Panel: Anand Patwardhan, Sharmila Tagore, K Satchidanandan
8:00 Performance: Inder Salim / “I am Dr. Binayak Sen” (20 mins )
April 6 (Wednesday)
10:00 am – Art Exhibition (Gallery) / Poster Exhibition
5:00 pm Music: Ska Vengers (featuring Delhi Sultanate) (Audi.)
6:00 pm Panel: Prof Amit Bhaduri / Arundhati Roy / Kavita Srivastava / Prashant Bhushan
8:00 pm Performance: Dastan-goi / Mahmood Farooqi & Danish Hussain (45 mins )
26th March, 2011
People’s Union for Civil Liberties unambiguously condemns the 26th March (Friday morning) attack on Swami Agnivesh and two Art of Living teachers, Ajay Singh and Rishi Milind, near Dornapal village in Dantewada in Chattisgarh, who were on a peace and fact-finding mission.
Swami Agnivesh and his companions reached Sukma town, in Dantewada district late on 25th March 2011. In the early hours of 26th March they left for Chintagupha village enroute to Tadmetla, Morpalli and Timapuram villages which had been attacked by Koya commandoes and the infamous COBRA forces of the Chhattisgarh police force on the 11th and 16th of March, burning down 300 houses, killing five people and raping three women in separate incidents.
Swami Agnivesh and his companions were manhandled and abused by a crowd comprising of three hundred women and men from the Dornapal Salwa Judum camp and also from the Erabore village relief camp. The tyres of Swami Agnivesh’s car were deflated, their laptops snatched, the supplies he was carrying for the victims of these villages was taken away. Although Swamiji tried his best to dialogue with the people who were causing obstruction yet they refused to talk. The laptops were handed over later to Swamiji and he returned to Sukma in the morning itself.
TNN | Mar 25, 2011
LUCKNOW: Making a strong pitch for human rights for all, Ilina Sen, wife of jailed human rights activist Binayak Sen, on Thursday, said she hoped Sen would find justice soon.
In Lucknow to participate in a meeting of a women’s self-help group, Ilina also spoke about how Binayak Sen was “falsely implicated” and jailed under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA). She said: “Binayak was among the first set of people to have been convicted under the Act. Though he has been referred to as a Maoist or a Maoist-sympathiser, I clarify, again, that Binayak Sen is only a civil rights activist.”
Clarifying that she was not touring the country with an agenda to spread the word about Binayak Sen’s arrest, Ilina also emphasised that if Binayak Sen were to be released on bail, an application for which is pending with the Supreme Court, it would be a victory for nearly 200 other persons who have been similarly “framed” under CSPSA. Sen said:
AARTI DHAR, The Hindu
NHRC a fiasco, needs restructuring: PAC
Severely criticising the government’s flagship programme, the National Rural Health Mission, the Public Accounts Committee has said it is a ‘fiasco’.
In its report tabled in Parliament on Thursday, the PAC said it found that health centres were being used as “godowns for storage of foodgrains and cow dung”.
No water supply
“A large number of sub-centres, primary health centres and community health centres are located in sub-standard environment such as garbage dumps, cattle sheds and stagnant waterbodies, and functioning in unhygienic conditions.” Besides, these centres lacked water supply and storage tanks, facilities for disposal of sewage and biomedical waste and separate utilities for men and women.
Shockingly enough, the health centres were supplied with substandard and expired medicines, and they lacked trained accredited social health activists (ASHAs) equipped with drug kits. There was no common drug formulary in many States, and mainstreaming or integration of Indian systems of medicines with the national health care system is lacking, the report said.
The PAC expressed surprise that the government conducted no study after the launch of the NRHM to assess its performance and make course corrections. Taking note of the glaring deficiencies, infirmities and want of effective monitoring mechanism, the committee said the NRHM called for a thorough re-appraisal and restructuring. Also, district and vigilance monitoring committees should be constituted by the government.
To Dr Margaret Chan Director General, WHO
Dr Lucia Ditiu Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership WHO 24 March 2011
Dear Dr Margaret Chan and Dr Lucia Ditiu,
Re. World TB Day and Dr Binayak Sen
We are at the halfway point of the Global Plan to Stop TB and are launching the World TB Day 2010-2011 and this year’s campaign focuses on individuals around the world who have found new ways to stop TB and can serve as an inspiration to others. With this focus in mind we call your attention to the continuing imprisonment of Dr Binayak Sen, the first Indian recipient of the 2008 Jonathan Mann award for Global Health and Human Rights. We hope that you will take the time to consider Dr Sen’s lifelong good work and commitment in the field of health, in particular his effort to control tuberculosis in marginalised communities, and wish to draw your attention to his continued unfair and vengeful incarceration by the state of Chattisgarh, India. He has also fought actively for the state to examine and redress the social determinants of poor health and huge burden of malnutrition that contributes to and co exists with the significant burden of TB amongst the marginalised tribal communities.
We are a group of doctors, nurses, medical students, researchers and health workers from around the world, who share the global distress about the persecution of Dr Binayak Sen in India since 2007 and call for his immediate release so that he can carry out his work promoting access to basic rights and equity in addressing health in general, and tuberculosis in particular.
Dr Binayak Sen is a paediatrician and public health specialist who has dedicated himself to the welfare of the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society, and since 1978, well before DOTS was introduced in India, has been working in the field of tuberculosis. In 1978, leaving his academic career at the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Dr Sen joined a Quaker-supported rural tuberculosis center in Central India. It was here Dr Sen practised innovative and needs- based approaches to control tuberculosis by convincing the authorities to be flexible in providing anti-tubercular drugs to communities who would otherwise discontinue their treatment for specific and understandable reasons e.g. difficulties to access health facilities during monsoon. We believe his approach was similar to community DOTS that has been adopted at a much later stage.
Supriya Sharma | Mar 20, 2011
In a criminal appeal filed in the high court, the government has challenged a Raipur sessions court’s acquittal of Sen and two others under Section 121 A of the IPC, which deals with hatching a conspiracy to wage war or attempt or abet waging of war against the Government of India, and is punishable with a life sentence.
On December 24, 2011 sessions court judge B P Varma convicted Sen and two others for conspiring to commit sedition under Sections 124 and 120 B but acquitted them on the charge of conspiring to wage war. Calling the acquittal “unjust, improper and bad in law”, the Chhattisgarh government has asked the high court to set the order aside.
March 19, 2011–The first Free Binayak Sen Medical Camp has been held in Jharkhand at the Tilaitand village of Jaduguda of East Singhbhum district. The camp has been organised by Jharkhand Navanirman Abhiyan in association with Free Binayak Sen Campaign–Doctors in Solidarity. About 100 patients of the tribal and backward castes were examined and dispensed free medicines. Lady health workers of Jharkhandis’ Organisation Against Radioactivity, who were trained at Chengail clinic of Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog, assisted the doctor to run the camp.