To: All the Democratically Concerned People of Tamil Nadu, India and the World
Respected Friend, Madem/Sir:
Sub: False Charges filed on me to curtail my professional and democratic duty to warn the people I am serving about the ill effects of the nuclear radiation around the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant
I am a medical doctor practicing in Sadras village near the Kalpakkam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, India, since 1989. I was a gold medalist during my undergraduate years at Madurai Medical College, but chose not to pursue higher education because I felt I should work among the poor masses in the villages. I chose Sadras as the place for my practice since I had many friends at Kalpakkam, who happened to work in the Kalpaakam Nuclear Power Plant.
From 1989 to 2000, my professional work was focused principally on serving the Dalit and the Fisher folks. My interests were in Primary Heath Care and I had devised many innovative cost efficient methods to treat the most prevalent diseases among the masses. I had written profusely about these methods in many journals and have published books highlighting these. My work was recognised by the local and national media and they had interviewed me many a times with regard to this. The noted magazine “Outlook” had published an exclusive article about me on 21 June 2004. I was even fondly nicknamed as “One Rupee Doctor” by many magazines that had interview me. I had started a small health awareness movement called Makkal Nala Vazhvu Pani Iyakkam (Forum for People’s Good Life) and had opened a clinic at Vayalur exclusively for this purpose among its Dalit populace. Impressed by my work, former Justice of the Supreme Court Shri.D.K.Basu came unannounced to grace this occasion. (1)
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.
On January 22, Saturday, on behalf of Free Binayak Sen Campaign–Doctors in Solidarity, Medical College Democratic Students’ Association organises a blood donation camp at the General Common Room of Medical College Bengal from 10 am.
To protest the unjust sentencing of Dr. Sen and to demand his unconditional release, a convention will be held at Medical College General Lecture Theatre on the same day from 4 pm. Dr. Sen’s mother Anusuya Sen and Satya Sivaraman, organiser of Free Binayak Sen Campaign are likely to address the convention.
Representatives of Health Service Association, Medical Service Centre, Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog, Peoples’ Health, Peoples’ Right to Health and Education will speak. Representatives of various democratic and human rights organisations will be present.
Free Binayak Sen Campaign–Doctors in Solidarity calls you and your organisation to attend the convention to strengthen the voice of protest.
The conviction of doctor and human-rights activist, Binayak Sen, could have implications for India’s attempts to achieve universal health-care coverage. Patralekha Chatterjee reports.
At a time when India is working towards making access to health-care universal, a 61-year-old medical doctor, nationally and internationally acclaimed for running health clinics for poor tribal communities in remote parts of central India, is fighting a grim battle to prove he is not a threat to the country’s security.
Doctor and civil-rights activist Binayak Sen, the first Indian recipient of the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, is in jail. On Dec 24, 2010, a trial court in Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh state in central India, sentenced Sen to life imprisonment for sedition on the charge that he carried a letter between two members of a banned left-wing extremist outfit.
The doctor vehemently denies any wrongdoing and has appealed to the High Court, which will take up the matter on Jan 24. His family and legion of supporters inside and outside India point to the many glaring loopholes in the prosecution’s evidence.
Read the rest of this entry »
On January 8, 2011 at 3 pm Free Binayak Sen Campaign–Doctors in Solidarity addressed a press conference at the Calcutta Press Club.
The doctors present called for immediate release of Dr. Binayak Sen. They declared that signature campaign will be launched in five medical colleges of the city demanding his release.
It has been declared that doctors will raise fund to help Dr. Sen’s legal battle.
Medical College Democratic Students’ Association has decided that it will organise a Free Binayak Sen Blood Donation Camp on January 22, Saturday at Medical College from 9 am.
On 4 January 2011, the occasion of Dr Binayak Sen’s 61st birthday, the Free Binayak Sen Campaign together with groups working on issues of the health and nutrition has launched an initiative to distribute blankets and feed homeless people in Delhi.
The month-long initiative is meant to help homeless citizens of Delhi to tide over the coldest part of the winter with additional nutrition. Many homeless people die every year in Delhi and other parts of northern India due to severe malnutrition during winter months.
The initiative is part of a larger campaign calling for the immediate release of Dr Sen, who has was unjustly sentenced on 24 December 2010 by a local court in Chhattisgarh to life imprisonment for ‘sedition’ and ‘conspiracy’.
The initiative is also meant to bring public attention on the issue of malnutrition among India’s poorest communities which Dr Binayak Sen, along with other public health workers, have been highlighting for many years.
Kolkata (PTI): About 50 per cent of children, equal percentage of scheduled tribes and 60 per cent of scheduled castes in the country are living under conditions of permanent famine as indicated by their Body Mass Index (BMI), civil rights activist Binayak Sen said.
As per WHO specifications, a person is recorded as undernourished if their BMI (body weight in kg divided by the square of height in metres) was below 18.5. If at least 40 per cent of the population of a group or a community had BMI below 18.5, it was said to be living in a permanent state of famine.
“Our studies have found that nearly 50 per cent of children, 60 per cent of SC and more than 50 per cent ST population in India have a BMI below 18.5 and as such, they can be said to be living in a state of permanent famine,” Mr. Sen said at a seminar here yesterday.
Noted human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen has said most of the land in Chhattisgarh was acquired at gun-point for big industrial houses. In the packed confines of the historic Students’ Hall in College Square, Sen, released recently on bail from the Raipur Central Jail after two years, made his first public appearance at a seminar on public health on Saturday.
When asked about his acting as a mediator if the Chhattisgarh government and Maoists come to the talking table, he said, “I am willing to promote peace and I want a political solution to the conflict,” Sen said.
From Tehelka Cover Story “Binayak & The Tragedy Beyond”
Activist Himanshu Kumar could not be swayed by the State’s wrath. SHOMA CHAUDHURY speaks to this Gandhian
|Unbent Himanshu kumar, daughters Alisha and Haripriya, wife Veena and father Prakash kumar|
You have two daughters. Does that not make you feel vulnerable?
My father was part of the freedom movement. My uncle was a senior colleague of Nehru’s. I knew men like the scientist Dayanidhi Patnaik, who came back with a PhD from America but gave up everything to join Vinobha Bhave’s Bhoomidan movement. I didn’t even notice when their values were stamped on me. From them, I came to believe that the material world is immaterial. Why should I compromise for my girls? What would I achieve? Two more girls — among lakhs of others — would be brought up to lead a cloistered life. Veena could have pulled me back, but she has never done that. She herself was terrified of wearing bangles and synthetic clothes and being trapped in a marriage that would shut her behind closed doors. She was a social worker before she married me.
What is at the heart of the State’s neglect and abuse of tribals?
I don’t think either the State or the police see them as human. How many officials have even bothered to learn their language? One day a CRPF officer was complaining to me about them. He said, “Oh, these ULFA-Nagas-adivasis — whatever they’re called…” That’s how faceless they were to him. There is such an arrogance in the way the State approaches them. They will not consult them, not communicate with them.
|We are not picking up the gun but are
asking for justice within the system.
Why does that rouse the State’s ire?
P Chidambaram has said he will militarily destroy the Naxals, then bring development in the region.
He can do that. He can kill thousands of his own countrymen attempting that. He has greater might, he is a superior race. And as one Naxal leader said in an interview to TEHELKA, “We do not control all areas. Why don’t they bring development to places we don’t control?”
By Patralekha Chatterjee
There is much to celebrate. Dr Binayak Sen has been finally granted bail by the Supreme Court. The 59-year-old doctor and human rights activist has paid a steep price for defending the health and rights of tribal communities in remote pockets of Chhattisgarh: two precious years of his life spent within the four walls of Raipur jail, and denial of medical treatment at a hospital of his choice despite a heart ailment and worldwide pleas from Nobel laureates, human rights activists, doctors and numerous concerned citizens.
The personal ordeal of Dr Sen, winner of the prestigious 2008 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, appears to be temporarily over. But the issues thrown up by the Binayak Sen case go beyond an individual, his iconic status, or the suffering of his family. They raise inconvenient questions about India today, which can be dodged only at great risk.
“The bail has nothing to do with the ongoing trial. It’s the discretion of the Supreme Court to grant him bail. But the trial will continue”, said a miffed Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh’s BJP chief minister, immediately after the order of the country’s highest court. Dr Sen was arrested under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act in May 2007 for suspected links with Maoist rebels. The prosecution has failed to throw up legally-admissible evidence to support the accusations in the chargesheet till date, and this is not for want of trying.
Here’s a bit of context to Dr Sen, the public health activist. I caught a glimpse of the man’s vision on a visit to the health clinic in Bagrimnala village, a tribal backwater plagued by malaria and malnutrition in Chhattisgarh’s Dhamtari district, in mid-April this year.