Archive for April, 2011
By Gladson Dungdung
26 April, 2011
Anup Oraon is merely 10 months old Adivasi boy. He was born in mid of the summer in 2010. He started traveling in the winter. And now travelling has become part and parcel of his life. However, his travel is different from others. His travel is unique. He has been traveling with his mother Nirmala Kanti Oraon with the hope that one day someone will hear his cry. Of course, his travel is for demand of justice. He has already attended several public hearings, mass meetings, protests, seminars and conferences across the country, where he shared his agony with people and demand justice for his father, uncle and neighbours.
Last time, I met him in a national seminar held in Bhopal the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. It was the beginning of summer, when he had come to Bhopal with his mother to tell the concerned people about their pains, sufferings and sorrows. However, the climate of Bhopal added salt in his wound. He started suffering from cold, cough and fever. His mother was worried. She told me that they have traveled to many places but this time Anup fell sick. She said in anxiety, “I’m worried if something happen to my child, how I can explain to my husband when he comes out of the Jail.” She was there to tell the people that how the Odissa police humiliated, tortured and put her innocent husband in jail after branding him as a member of the CPI-Maoist.
The worst thing is Anup Oraon has not even seen his father since his birth. When he was born his father Paulus Oraon was already behind the bars. Though he cannot express his pains, sufferings and sorrows in words but his endless cry, anguish and anxiety are enough for describing everything he has been undergoing in absence of his father. Perhaps, he wants to play in the lap of his father, he wishes to hear the voice of someone else than hearing her mother’s voice every time he wakes up for the bed and of course, he wants to be loved by his father. But India’s war (for minerals) has put this child’s life in a stake. Both the mother and child have been running from pillar to post but no one is there to hear their plea. Can anyone hear their cry for justice?
Do join the anti nuclear protests in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore
DELHI- 25TH APRIL
PROTEST AGAINST ILLEGAL DETENTION OF ACTIVISTS
Location: Maharashtra Sadan, Copernicus Marg,
Time: Monday, 25 April 2011 11:00- 1300
Bangalore- 26TH APRIL
Protest- No more Chernobyls & Fakushimas! NUCLEAR- Stay CLEAR
Location: Town Hall, Bangalore
Time: Tuesday, 26 April 2011 17:00-19.00
Mumbai- 26th april
PROTEST MORCHA To Demand ‘Scrap Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project”
Location: From Dadar Station (East) To N M Joshi Marg Curry Road Junction Via Dr.Ambedkar Road
Time: Tuesday, 26 April 2011 17:00- 1900
Photo; Courtesy: Mukul Dube
Amanda Hodge, South Asia correspondent
BINAYAK Sen did not mince his words when he walked from miserable Raipur prison in the Maoist-besieged state of Chattisgargh on bail this week.
Four months after the internationally awarded doctor to India’s poorest communities was sentenced to life for sedition, he questioned the democratic foundations of a country in which a third of the population “walks in famine” and where the state can accuse a man of treason for speaking up for those with no voice.
“People across the country are now being held on offences related to sedition under the flimsiest of evidence because the administration uses these laws as a short cut to put people it doesn’t like behind bars,” he told The Weekend Australian.
“Laws such as Chattisgargh’s special security act are supposed to be used against terrorists, but in India they’re being used against ordinary people who are not participating in any violent or terrorist activities. People like me.”
Sen, 61, became the subject of an international human rights campaign after he was arrested by Chattisgargh police in 2007 and held without bail on charges of acting as courier for a jailed Maoist rebel leader.
The pediatrician denies the charges, insisting all meetings with the ailing leader – for whom he was providing medical treatment and advocacy – were officially approved and supervised.
FREE BINAYAK SEN CAMPAIGN
Press Release 22 April 2011
Dr Binayak Sen, recently released from a Raipur prison on bail by the Supreme Court, has won the 2011 Gwangju Prize For Human Rights, South Korea’s most prestigious award for those working on peace, democracy and justice issues in Asia.
The Award was announced on Thursday 21st April by the 2011 Gwangju Prize Committee in Seoul, South Korea.
The Prize which carries a sum of 50,000 US dollars is awarded each May 18 on the anniversary of the May 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising to a person or organization who has made significant contributions in the field of human rights and democracy. The Prize has been constituted to carry on the spirit of the May 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising, which inspired the entire transformation of South Korea from a military dictatorship till the mid-eighties to a thriving democracy today.
The 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights this year received 32 nominations from countries all around Asia. Xanana Gusmao, the leader of the East Timore struggle for independence was the first awardee of the Gwangju Prize when it was launched in 2000 while Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi won it in 2004. Irom Sharmila, the Manipuri human rights activist is also a previous Indian winner of the Gwangju Prize.
Given below is the Award Statement of the jury, which selected the Gwangju Prize winner:
Binayak Sen, as an accomplished medical practitioner has distinguished himself by his devotion to providing health services for the poor and by his strong advocacy against human rights violations and structural violence inflicted on the poor in Chhattisgarh, a state in central India. Apart from that, he has also been active in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties documenting human rights violations occurring during the anti-Naxalite conflict.
Binayak Sen is announced winner today of 2011 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, South Korea’s most prestigious human rights award. Please contact us ASAP for details at phone below. Official press conference announcing the decision today 21 April at 11am South Korea time.
For further information contact:
Mr Adam Breasley
Culture & Solidarity Team
The May 18 Memorial Foundation
About the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights:
The Gwangju Prize for Human Rights, which is given yearly, has the following aims: 1) to enhance the spirit of the May 18 Democratic Uprising by awarding individuals, groups or institutions in Korea and abroad for their contribution to improving human rights and peace throughout the world; and 2) to recognize the role of individuals, groups and institutions in Korea and/or abroad in promoting the goals of the May 18 Democratic Uprising by moving toward unification and cooperation.
दो साल पह्ले सरकार ने एक बिनायक सेन को नक्सली बताकर अंदर किया था
जेल में रहकर ही देश में ही नहीं विदेशों में भी लाखों बिनायक पैदा कर दिए
आज पूरे देश के सरकार को झकझोर कर रख दिया
डॉ बिनायक सेन नक्सली हैं तो मैं भी नक्सली हूं गरजना शुरू किया
हम आ रहे हैं तुम्हारा जेल का नाप लेने
हम आ रहे हैं तुम्हारे फांसी के फंदे का नाप लेने
तुम्हारे एके 47के गोलियों को सीने में सजाने
कम पड जाएगा हमारा बनाया जेल
कम पड जाएगा हमारा बनाया फांसी के फंदा
कम पड जाएगा हमारा बनाया एके 47 की गोलियां
ऐ खून पीने वाले भेडियों
मत ललकारो इंसानों को
मत तडपाओ मेहनत करने वाले को
जिस दिन जनता जाग जाएगी
तुमको मसलकर पीस डालेगी
अरे सौ में पांच ही तो हो
चटनी बनाकर चाट जाएगी
‘Little pinholes of light have come out in this judgement’ says author and activist Arundhati Roy on the Binayak Sen bail order by the Supreme Court. In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN’s Rupashree Nanda, she also says ‘democracy is on a very slippery slope in Chhattisgarh’; that it is important to remember several others who are jailed under similar charges under ‘undemocratic laws’.
Rupashree Nanda: I remember you’d said that the judgement of the Raipur session court was intended to be a message, as a warning to others. What is the message of the Supreme Court bail order?
Arundhati Roy: I think that the Supreme Court granting him bail and the comments that were made in court do suggest that somewhere the Supreme Court is of the mind that it was a vindictive judgment and that he does deserve the benefit of the doubt. And so they gave him bail. What happens is that it underlines the fact that he was being made an example of; and the terror that reigns in Chhattisgarh remains so. Because, how many people have those lawyers? And have the ability to come to the Supreme Court? How many people are there poor, unnamed and named, under the very same laws for even less reasons? But they cannot come up and get bail. In some ways, it is a very necessary thing that has happened today. And in other ways it is worrying because we have so many people who don’t have access to the Supreme Court.
Rupashree Nanda: The battle for acquittal is still on. What if he is convicted again and sentenced again?
Arundhati Roy: My answer is the same. The fact is that here was a very well known person. He had a campaign behind him, he had so many people, so many lawyers and so he was allowed to approach an institution where some kind of reason prevailed. But most people don’t have that approach. So, here you are once again in a situation where there is hope for democracy, reason for those who can afford it, who can reach there. But most people cannot. Really what we need to do is look at these laws again. And again, even if the laws were OK you have this vindictive set of people who are doing something, it does not matter what the law is. They are busy trying to intimidate a whole population of very poor people now who are living on the resources that the multinationals want.
Rupashree Nanda: Was it easy for people to come out and support Dr Binayak Sen because there were many people against him?
Arundhati Roy: It is not a question of easy or difficult. Fortunately, in this country we do have a huge number of fearless people who believe in doing the right thing or at least believe in doing what they believe in. I am not going to complain about how difficult it was for us. Of course, I think, all those who protested knew that they were up against it. I know about Kopa Kunjam who took me round Bastar who is in jail. Who is campaigning for him? Who are his lawyers? What is going to happen to him? There are hundreds of people in jail in Orissa, in Chhattisgarh, in Bengal who do not have names suffering under the same laws. We really need to do something about them. I am saying this at a time when I don’t want to minimize how reassuring it is that the Supreme Court came out with this order that it did today. Because, had it not done that, all the windows would have been shut. Again, justice for those who can afford it, democracy for those who can afford it but what about everybody else?
Rupashree Nanda: What is the message for the government? Is it listening to the courts, is it listening to the people?
Arundhati Roy: There is something rotten in the institutions of Chhattisgarh. All the institutions there are behind that rot and behind what is now NOT being called Operation Green Hunt, but IS Operation Green hunt. We have a situation where the army is likely to be deployed, we have requests for the AFSPA [Armed Forces Special Powers Act]. We know what that has done in other states in India. Really democracy is on a very slippery slope there in Chhattisgarh. Now, some little pin holes of light have come out in this judgment. – but the point is that we are in a situation where we are creating a state where we call ourselves a democracy but increasingly there are laws that are undemocratic. In fact, under the UAPA [Unlawful Activities Prevention Act], the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act – you don’t have to prove anything to put people in jail. Just thinking an anti – government thought is a criminal offense. So look at those laws. It is not that they are being misinterpreted. They are being used precisely for the purpose they were made. So the fact is again and again I am saying we have a majority of our population that does not have access to the institution of justice.
Rupashree Nanda: What does Binayak Sen represent?
Arundhati Roy: Different things to different people. To me he symbolizes somebody who stood up and blew the whistle on the Salwa Judum. And that is why there was this vindictive action against him as a warning. And even though he has been let out on bail, let’s not forget that he has suffered. He’s been in jail. His hospital has been closed down. He cannot work in that area. He has been driven out of the state. So, in many ways, what they wanted, they have achieved already. To others he symbolizes righteousness. It can cut both ways. You can also now use Binayak Sen to say, look, India is a democracy – he was released. You can use him to say – look he is a middle-class person who had a campaign behind him. He was released, but there are many others. So it is different things to different people depending on how you look at it.
Rupashree Nanda: No one talks about Piyush Guha today?
Arundhati Roy: You talk about one person and then you keep everybody else in the dark. It’s like during Thanksgiving the American president pardons one turkey and then they slaughter millions. Behind the place where you choose to shine the light you have so much darkness. Piyush Guha has a name. Kopa Kunjam has a name, but there are hundreds of others who don’t have names, who are in prison. I remember going to Orissa meeting one adivasi woman shaking like a leaf in jail. What are the charges? Sedition. Waging war against the state. Trying to erect a parallel government. So we are living in an era where these people are ferociously attacked. So we have to look at the whole picture not just where people wish us to look because they have shone the light there.
Greetings from Dr Binayak Sen to the Free Binayak Sen Campaigns in India and around the world. Shot at his residence after his release from Raipur jail.Please click on the link below:
First they poisoned the air,
Then set little man against little man,
Armed with ignorance and hate.
The arrows yielded to the bullets,
The bullets to banshee yells
For your blood.
The Gentleman on the podium said
“ah, this man may always smile,
Never raise his hand or his voice,
But he reads, he thinks, he stays
His ground among the hoi polloi,
He swindles them with care and potion;
Immune to calumny and national interest;
Such men are dangerous,
And must be put away forever.”
He mumbled “you do your work,
I do mine; you despoil the earth
Through and through,
I use the pickaxe and plough
Of perseverance, faith, and love
The despoilt earth to renew.”
Those untutored words reached
The gods that sit above,
The iron walls melted, and out
Came this intractable man again.
Many millions around the world
Wondered, took heart, sang,
“when Binayak goes marching in,
We are of his company.”
Showering jasmine petals, the goddess
Of Justice admonished thus:
“O little ones, you lose heart too soon;
Remember, when the thunderbolts are hurled,
And the mighty trees fall,
It is the grass under your feet
That still stands tall.”
Binayak smiled, set forth without fuss,
To medicine the next of us
Without food, or flesh, light in the eyes
Money in the bank, roof over the head,
Reason to be alive; his simple call
To bring the festering sore of hopelessness
Back to some healthy red.
Such ones are indeed dangerous; they
Work on the side of life,
They spurn those that kill,
Being the living-dead.
It will be evening before Dr Binayak Sen is released as the paperwork needed to get him out is still being prepared. To be precise the release order from the trial court is right now being processed after the bonds and passport of Dr Sen were submitted to fulfill bail conditions.
Hoping all goes smoothly at the jail end where also there might be some paperwork needed. Such reluctance on the part of the Chhattisgarh administration to see Binayak go away is very touching indeed. The Stockholm syndrome was about hostages falling in love with their captors and the Raipur syndrome seems to be about the captors holding on to their hostages.