1:30 PM, December 24, 2010
Moments before Binayak Sen was found guilty of treason in the Sessions Court, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Two hours later, Binayak Sen was sentenced by the same judge to life imprisonment.
Photos: Jonathan E. Fine, MD, MPH
Disclaimer: The news item below about the resignation of Dr Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, is as fictitious as the false charges framed against Dr Binayak Sen by the Chhattisgarh government. We took the occasion of April Fool’s Day to highlight the need for Dr Raman Singh to step down and take moral responsibility for the unjust persecution of Dr Sen for the past nearly two years. We have so far received plenty of feedback both in support of and against the prank. We apologise to anyone who thought it was a real news item but would certainly recommend they read all news items, everywhere very carefully before arriving at any conclusions.
April 1, Raipur, BBC : The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Dr Raman Singh tendered his resignation here today owning up moral responsibility for the severe persecution of public health doctor and human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen by his government despite knowing he was fully innocent.
In a letter to E.S.L.Narasimhan, Governor of Chhattisgarh, submitted on Wednesday, Dr Raman Singh confessed to pressurising state police officials to cook up false charges against Dr Sen as being an ‘associate’ of outlawed Maoist insurgents, fighting against state forces. Dr Sen, renowned worldwide for his health work among the rural poor, has been behind bars for the past 22 months, under a draconian anti-terrorist legislation, the Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act, on charges, which include ‘treason and waging war against the state’.
“ The extent to which my government, under my own leadership, has subverted Constitutional norms and basic concepts of justice and democracy, makes it impossible for me to continue in office any more,” said a contrite Raman Singh in his letter, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent.
The Chief Minister’s resignation letter says further that government prosecutors, aware that they had no evidence to back their claims deliberately delayed the ongoing trial of Dr Sen for as long as possible and also opposed granting of bail to punish him through the trial process itself. The trial of Dr Sen , which began in a Raipur sessions court in April 2008, has not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him so far.
According to inside sources in the Chhattisgarh state unit of the BJP the Chief Minister’s dramatic decision to respond to his own conscience and quit was prompted by his experimenting in recent weeks with certain chemicals used in narcoanalysis, a controversial technique that is supposed to induce hardcore criminals and dreaded terrorists to tell the truth. Raman Singh, a former ayurvedic doctor, had apparently tried to prove that narcoanalysis was first discovered in the Vedic period, 3500 years ago.
“We noticed there was something very strange in his behaviour for the past several days and he had suddenly started saying things that were absolutely true,” said a shocked party colleague still recovering from the very idea of the Chief Minister acknowledging facts. Finally according to him Dr Raman Singh, still under the influence of various herbs and concoctions he had consumed as part of his research on the ‘Indian Truth Serum’, had no choice but to resign.
Supporters of Dr Sen are hoping that this startling political development in Chhattisgarh could result in restoration of some sense of justice in the state, a sense completely lost under the Raman Singh regime, which was into its second term in office. They are now calling for other members of the Chhattisgarh cabinet to try out some of the same drugs taken by their erstwhile leader.
Ilina Sen’s speech from Association of India Development 2008 Conference , Buffalo, New York
Dr Ilena Sen talks on Dr Binayak Sen’s work and illegal arrest. Video includes historical background of India’s chattisgarh state and how it is waging war on its own people by supporting Salwa Judum that pits people against people.