Posts Tagged ‘chhattisgarh government
COURT SAYS PARAMILITARY APPROACH IS A PROBLEM NOT THE SOLUTION
ALL SIDES AGREE ON NEED FOR HIGH LEVEL MONITORING COMMITTEE – DIFFER ON ITS COMPOSITION
PRESS RELEASE ON HEARING OF SALWA JUDUM MATTER
7th January 2011
The Salwa Judum matter was heard in Court 9 of the Supreme Court today by Justice Sudershan Reddy and Justice SS Nijjar. This time all the main parties to the court were present – the last few times, the Solicitor General had asked for adjournments. The petitioners were represented by Senior Counsel, Mr. Ashok Desai (who is arguing the case pro-bono), the Centre by the Solicitor General, Mr. Gopal Subramanium and the State of Chhattisgarh by Mr. Harish Salve and Mr. Manish Singhvi.
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Conviction of, and Life Sentence to Dr. Binayak Sen is Injustice to the Whistle Blowers! : National Council of Churches
The National Council of Churches in India, on the Christmas day condemns the unjust attitude of the Chhattisgarh Government’s politically motivated and vindictive action against Dr. Binayak Sen’s conviction and sentence of life imprisonment on alleged charges of sedition and conspiracy under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act, 2005, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2004.
NCCI strongly condemns such unlawful activities of the states, in shutting up the whistle blowers’ voices against the structural injustices on the communities of peoples by misusing the state and legislative machineries.
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The People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to grant bail to Binayak Sen in the case levelled by the Chhattisgarh government that resulted in the noted civil rights activist being confined for over two years in Raipur jail on charges of sedition and participation in “unlawful activities”. It is pertinent to note, in reading out the order, the Supreme Court judge specifically commented upon the long period of incarceration for an undertrial, stating “two years is too much”, before passing the instruction “bail granted”.
The demolition of Gandhian Himanshu Kumar’s 17-year-old Vanvasi Chetna Ashram in Dantewada on May 17 shocked everyone acquainted with its work in the backward tribal area of Chhattisgarh. Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey, who led an all-India fact-finding team to Dantewada, tells Jyoti Punwani what his team found:
Why was the Vanvasi Ashram demolished?
Himanshu had become an irritant for the Chhattisgarh government. He was doing a lot of development work, which is really the job of the government. In fact, the SP himself told us that they used to take Himanshu’s help on various occasions. But the ashram was also providing legal aid to the adivasis oppressed by Salwa Judum. In the last two years, Himanshu has filed 500 FIRs on their behalf. His most recent activity was to help resettle in their original villages, those adivasis who had been forcibly displaced by Salwa Judum.
Tehelka Cover Story “Binayak & The Tragedy Beyond”
Far from the national gaze, the establishment practises a dangerous malevolence when confronted with its anti-people policies, reports SHOMA CHAUDHURY from Raipur and Dantewada. Photographs by SHAILENDRA PANDEY
|Old threshold 2.30pm and Binayak Sen finally closes the door of his home to the stream of visitors who have come to see him after his release|
ONE YEAR ago, before the campaign on his behalf had gained m o m e n t u m , TEHELKA did a cover story on Binayak Sen — doctor and human rights activist, jailed on false charges under the draconian Chhattisgarh (People’s) Public Security Act (See TEHELKA: No Country for Good Men). On May 25, when Supreme Court judges Markandeya Katju and Deepak Verma took just sixty seconds to undo an injustice that had been wilfully perpetuated by the State for two long years, it should have been an occasion for another cover story, more celebratory, documenting among other things, Binayak’s wife, Ilina’s Herculean legal struggle for his release. But Binayak and Ilina’s story is merely symbolic of a much bigger, on-going and faceless struggle. And so, even as the human rights community exploded in joy with the May 25 victory, 400 kilometers from Raipur, another big battlefront was being opened.
It is two days after 59-year-old Binayak Sen got to go home. May 28, scalding, red dust everywhere, a hot loo blowing. A man in a white lungi and kurta sits under a leafy tree, listening to ten Gond tribals tell their story of how two nights earlier their village was looted. Every ration burnt. Every goat taken, every hen kidnapped. Not even a little chick left behind. The tribals have trekked from faraway Kamanar village in the hope that this man in white will help them access the ear of the State. It is a difficult proposition because it is the State that has looted the village: How do you lodge an FIR with the police when it is the police that have stolen your chickens?
It was an emotional reunion for human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen, who walked free from jail on Tuesday after two years, with his family and friends. Coming out of jail to the cheers of his supporters, a frail looking Sen said that his movement against state violence would continue and that he feared for his life.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Dr Binayak Sen:
By Priyamvada Gopal, Dwijen Rangnekar and Aditya Sarkar
Oddly unblemished by global scrutiny, India’s civil rights copybook is a blotted one, with its fair share of arbitrary arrests, police atrocities, and concocted cases. The most prominent victim of an increasing criminalization of India’s strong traditions of dissent is Dr. Binayak Sen, arrested on 14 May 2007 on charges of abetting Maoist insurgency in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. A paediatrician by training, Sen has been working for decades with adivasis (‘tribals’) in Chhattisgarh. Having helped set up the pioneering Shaheed HospitaI for mine-workers, he was involved with several worker-based health programmes across the state.
As President of the Chattisgarh branch of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Sen was a significant voice against the violence rending the mineral- and forest-rich region, large portions of which have been handed over to private industry for exploitation, leading to large-scale displacement. In recent years Chhattisgarh has witnessed a protracted Maoist insurgency to which the state has responded with draconian anti-terror legislation. The 2005 stablishment of the Salwa Judum, private militias armed by the state government, has accelerated the conflict, leaving hundreds dead and thousands dispossessed. While treading a peaceful and democratic path through this carnage, Sen exposed a number of state-backed killings, violent dispossessions, and human rights violations in the region.
Mukti Utsav Raipur: Demanding the release of Dr. Binayak Sen and in support of democratic rights in Chhattisgarh
Freedom Festival (Mukti Utsav)
Raypur Satyagraha May 13th Cultural Event
Sahu Bhavan, Bairan Bazaar, Raipur
To mark two years of unjust incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen, hundreds of artists, poets, activists, writers, workers and ordinary people from across India gathered for an evening of cultural resistance at 6.30 pm and demanded immediate release of Dr. Sen.
The artists condemned the repression of peaceful democratic dissent by the Chhattisgarh government. The performances reflected the power of people’s resistance and encouraged the people to resist with greater determination. It was a vibrant evening with high energy, hope and celebration of people’s struggles against oppressive state.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Ilina Sen asked provocatively: what is a nation? who is the nation? Does it include its people and people’s aspirations? If it does, then how can Mr. Sen, a champion of people’s causes be arrested as being anti-national? She hoped for the speedy release of Dr. Sen and for the day when people of Chhatiisgarh could live in peace.
The messages of the various artists were very powerful and inspiring. The Qawwals led by Mubarak Ali from Bhopal inspired by Amir Khusro’s famous doha ‘the tilak has been snatched away ever since you have stolen my glance’ they sang “government who destroys us, we appeal to you don’t destroy our eyes, they long to see Binayak” Referring to Dr. Sen’s imprisonment they sang “since the time you left us, the city seems deserted”.
The Thurmil’s all-women pandvani group from Durg, who traditionally sing the Mahabharata sang “Chhattisgarh is asking, Give us our freedom, We don’t need Salwa Judum, We don’t need your bullets and sticks, We don’t need your enemy law, All we ask for is, Give us our freedom”
Bhuiayan ki Chirag, the cultural troupe of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, Bhilai they sang “Every morning, we eat the leftovers of the previous night, but remember, I am the Chhattisgarh who tills the land, Chhattisgarh is Mine! Mine!”
Mr. Mir Ali Mir and Mr. Sham Bahadur Namri rendered their poetry on Mr. Binayak Sen, Bhopal Gas Tragedy and ecological destruction. Anjaam (about Mr. Sen) a film by Mr. Ajay TG and Gaon chodab nahin, a music video against displacement of adivasis by development projects by KP Sasi were screened.
People participating and organizing the program include: Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha represented by Lakhan Singh, People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Chhattisgarh represented by Rajendra Sail (President) and Vijendra (Joint Secreatary), Rupantar, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, JNU Students Union-Delhi, students of the Centre for Islamic Studies, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Drik Sakshi.
There was a large contingent from Karnataka including students of Indian Institute of Science, People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka, Alternative Law Forum, Karnataka Sex Workers Union, Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, Sadhane, Samara and Suraksha.
The evening ended with the resolve to continue the struggle for democratic rights in Chhattisgarh and outside.
Kavitha, Manohar, Siddharth, Shubha
The dark heart within the glory of Indian democracy
The Telegraph, Calcutta
There is almost a mythic power in the spectacle of India going to the polls. Just the number of people going to the booths in every corner of the country, the gigantic scale of the organization, the numerous political parties — all add up to a fascinating and undoubtedly significant exercise in democracy. Especially now, with the civilian governments in countries around India gasping for life, or turning into ruthless victory-mongers at the expense of minority populations. Within India, too, tragedies stalk the exercise of the people’s franchise. In the mythic perspective, these endow India’s general elections with something akin to a noble aura.
The last day of this magnificent exercise will also be the day on which Binayak Sen completes two years in prison. The doctor, who has for years been treating adivasis in the poorest and least developed areas of Chhattisgarh, has been repeatedly refused bail, although on May 4 this year the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government to provide him with “the best possible medical aid”. Sen is seriously at risk from cardiac problems and has reportedly said in open court that he may get a heart attack any time. To be fair to the Chhattisgarh government, it is willing to offer its hospital facilities to the prisoner. But their prisoner insists on being treated in his old medical college in Vellore. Although he is within the law in choosing his place of treatment, the state government does not see why it should comply.
Worse, his wife, Ilina Sen, has been telling the world exactly what the Sens and their friends fear — that Binayak may not leave a Chhattisgarh hospital alive. Ilina has carefully documented the sequence of events since his application for medical treatment, and recorded her use of the Right to Information Act to find out what means the government used to make the denial of her husband’s request official. At the end, she writes: “Under these circumstances, Binayak is absolutely right to fear that his life may be in danger in any facility controlled by the state in Chhattisgarh.”
No doubt the chief minister of Chhattisgarh would consider this a wife’s paranoia, since according to him, in “the lanes and by-lanes of Chhattisgarh [Sen] is a non-issue”. Faced with demands for his release, the Union home minister has reportedly said that the Centre cannot do much, since Chhattisgarh has a Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. That does make Binayak Sen into a “non-issue”, a mere object of political balancing acts, of reductive reasoning — or conditioned unreason — that has, in the 62 years since Independence, lost all touch with the desire for justice, equity and human rights which must have once inspired the democracy now going so studiously, so spectacularly, to the polls.
With Binayak Sen, we touch the dark heart of India’s democratic glory. Amid the terrors that reside in that secret place, one of the keenest is the fact that today very few thinking people in India are unaware of who he is, and how much he has achieved in his life before prison. But even the world’s knowledge of what true courage means, what it is to be just, to stand up to all forms of violence — particularly that against the poor, what legal procedure is, how State repression works, has made no difference to Sen’s incarceration.
The New Indian Express
Home > Opinion > Editorials
Binayak Sen continues to languish in a Chhattisgarh prison, jailed under a draconian law by the State and denied relief. It is eminently to be hoped that his latest plea for bail before the Supreme Court will lead to positive results. Sen’s incarceration on charges of abetting ultra-Left activists, in fact, for a year before trial proceedings even started, is a poor advertisement for Indian democracy. Consider his record. Sen is a doctor who has done more than most, certainly more than the Chhattisgarh government, to reach healthcare to those most in need of it — the poorest of people in some of the poorest regions of the country. In doing so, moreover, he provided a model of participation, involving the people as agents rather than objects. He has also been an indefatigable campaigner for human rights and has been on record saying that he does not approve the methods employed by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh. If then, he is in jail for sympathising with their broad objectives, one might safely hazard that tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens should also be in custody. Sen has been feted with a clutch of awards both national and international, the latest being one for his work in protecting human rights and promoting healthcare and iterating the need for looking at the two things as related. The Madhya Pradesh government had adopted his model of work and involved him in setting up State health schemes.
Even if we were to assume, for the purpose of debate, that Sen has some involvement with the Naxals, it beggars belief that the State should have thought it necessary to imprison him under a draconian preventive detention law, especially given the fact that since his trial has begun virtually no evidence has been adduced to demonstrate his culpability. Conceivably, any legal proceedings against him could have traversed the more usual routes, with Sen free to carry out the humanitarian work for which he has justifiably earned an international reputation, which is not, of course, to say that lesser mortals should be deprived of their human rights by a government apparatus that revels in repression while blithely abdicating its enabling role in what should be a welfare-oriented state. The full measure of the State government’s perversity can be gauged from its steadfast refusal last year to even listen to worldwide appeals, including those by an A-list of Nobel laureates, for his temporary release to travel to the US to receive his award.