Posts Tagged ‘CSPSA
By systematically persecuting Dr Binayak Sen, a tireless champion of human rights and the rights of adivasis and workers, the Indian state is sending a strong message to civil society about the price of not toeing the line.
Raja bola raat hai,
mantri bola raat hai,
court bola raat hai,
ye subah subah ki baat hai!
(The king said it was night. The minister said it was night. The court said it was night. It was early morning!)
On 24 Dec 2010, the District Court in Raipur in Chhattisgarh state of central India sentenced Dr Binayak Sen to life imprisonment. Given the flimsy nature of the evidence, to most it came as a shock; to the Indian state seeking to silence dissenting human rights activists and social workers, it was shot in the arm.
Targeting Dr Binayak Sen, a well-known civil rights and public health activist, has wide implications for democracy and civil rights in India. Dr. Sen is the National Vice President of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), one of the most respected civil liberties organizations in India founded by late Jaya Prakash Narayan during the 1975-77 internal Emergency, the worst era in the history of post-independence India. Dr Sen’s work in the area of public health is well known; in fact, he was a part of the group which set up the Mitanin rural health care system for Chhattisgarh twenty years ago when the state was still under formation. He is a man for whose bail, twenty two Nobel laureates had appealed. For whose release, the British House of Commons had issued a motion.
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The International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) condemn the conviction, in last December 24th, of Dr. Binayak Sen, and also Narayan Sanyal and Piyush Guha, to life imprisonment for the crimes of sedition and conspiration and under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act, 2005 and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2004.
Binayak Sen is Vice President of the renowned Indian People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and is a people’s doctor, who chose to exercise his profession among the poorest tribal people on India, suffering the hardest deprivement of social conditions and violated and displaced by joint action of mining corporations, the militia Salwa Judum and the State. He was accused after he went to serve medical assistance to the allegedly Maoist leader Narayan Sanyal in a Chhattisgarh jail. He was falsely charged as serving as a courier of letters between Sanyal and Guha, another allegedly Maoist.
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in New Delhi
The Supreme Court directive to release Dr. Binayak Sen on bail raises the question of the illegality of his detention .
THE Supreme Court’s direction on May 25 to release Dr. Binayak Sen, vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), on bail from the Raipur Central Jail marks a milestone in the history of the civil liberties movement in India. Never before has the bail plea of an individual unjustly kept in prison been the subject of such an intense campaign by intellectuals and activists across the world.
The campaign seeking Sen’s freedom intensified after 22 Nobel Prize winners, including Amartya Sen, signed a public statement on May 9 last year describing him as a “professional colleague” and appealing to the President and the Prime Minister to ensure his release so that he could receive in person the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in Washington. The helplessness of the Centre, and the refusal of the Chhattisgarh government to oblige only indicated that the struggle for Sen’s freedom could be long and daunting.
International coalition hails granting of Bail to Dr. Binayak Sen, and demands repeal of repressive laws
Press Contact: Somnath Mukherji Tel: 732-423-6662; email@example.com
San Francisco, CA: The Free Binayak Sen coalition in the U.S. welcomes with great joy the bail granted to Dr. Binayak Sen by the Supreme Court of India, and congratulates the numerous activist, student and citizens groups in India that have worked tirelessly in support of Dr. Sen and other prisoners of conscience. An international coalition of over 50 human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Friends of South Asia, Association for India’s Development, and others, 22 Nobel laureates, and respected intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, George Galloway, Mahashweta Devi, have all called for the release of Dr. Sen.
The two-year long unjust incarceration of Dr.Sen finally ended on 25 May, 2009, and he is now reunited with his family and friends. In an interview shortly after his release, Dr. Sen noted: “I regard myself as an index case…a demonstration of what the government intends to do…”1. Indeed, Dr. Sen’s case served to demonstrate starkly the government’s assault on civil rights of citizens, and highlighted many inconsistencies and violations of due process by the Indian Legal and Executive system, as well as the Judiciary’s inability to call into question the violation of rule of law, and practice of violence by the State. As such, Dr. Sen’s case has functioned to bring to the fore the public’s indignation and frustration with the State machinery, and has thrown up grave questions about the reality of the relative independence of these branches of government. Raja Swamy, an activist with Friends of South Asia, said “Even as we celebrate the bail granted to Dr. Sen, we cannot forget that these larger issues about the integrity of government institutions still need to be resolved”.
Indian doctor Binayak Sen released from prison on bail
26 May 2009
Dr Binayak Sen, who spent two years in an Indian prison as a Prisoner of Conscience, was released on Tuesday after being granted bail by the Supreme Court.
Welcoming Dr Sen’s release on bail, Amnesty International believes that the charges against him are baseless and politically motivated. Amnesty International has repeated its call on the Indian authorities to immediately drop all the charges against Dr Sen.
Villagers who fled the Salwa Judum-Maoist conflict return home to familiar grounds
By Bela Bhatia
Tehelka Daily stories
Imagine a situation where you had to flee from your home and everything that was familiar in a matter of a few minutes.
Such has been the fate of many thousand adivasis of Bijapur and Dantewada districts of south Bastar in Chhattisgarh since the last four years. Mid-2005 saw the beginning of local discontent against Naxalite action in a few villages of west Bijapur which soon took the form of a counter-insurgency operation that had unrestrained backing of the authorities. Christened Salwa Judum, the movement started out with the aim of bringing peace but has instead left behind a trail of death and displacement in the area. At least 644 villages (as per official records) are affected and over a lakh people displaced.
This year the Mahua season, the beginning of the Adivasi new year, has brought with it forgotten hope. People from Bijapur district, Basaguda and Lingagiri, who were forced to flee their homes in 2006, following an attack by Salwa Judum (in Lingagiri) and the Maoists (in Basaguda), have returned. For three years, the insignificant -looking bridge over Talpedu river was deemed uncrossable and was a dividing line between their villages and the adjoining areas; Maoist territory, and the other side as being under Government and Salwa Judum control, the former represented by the police and CRPF camps and the latter by the settlement, ironically called ”rahat shivir‘ (relief camp). On 28 March, this bridge was crossed and the dividing line erased.
By Sadanand Menon
It is with a deep sense of indignation one writes this piece today, May 14, 2009. Exactly two years ago pediatrician and human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen, was picked up by the Chhattisgarh police and incarcerated in a Raipur prison on charges of ‘waging war’ against the State under various sections of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (amended) 2004.
The charges against Dr. Sen include aiding and abetting Naxalites and sedition. Both the CSPSA, 2005 and the UAPA (amended) 2004 are ridiculously draconian laws, ultra vires of the Constituional guarantees provided to the citizen and several human rights organizations along with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have been campaigning for their repeal and for the release of over 178 people detained under it. Those detained include lawyers, journalists, film makers, tradesmen, agricultural workers, activists in NGOs, cultural workers and such.
Both nationally and internationally enough mobilization and solidarity has been expressed by concerned citizens, including a committee of Nobel laureates and associations of professionals from the medical field. Amnesty International has described Binayak Sen as a ‘Prisoner of Conscience’. But the State has refused to budge. It has stuck to its version of the good doctor being a threat to law and order through actions interpreted as supporting the underground Maoists in the region.
In a more substantial sense, Binayak Sen’s work was seen as pioneering and life-saving in the Dantewada region of Chhattisgarh, where poor adivasis were subjected to extreme terror and coercion by agents of the State disguised as ‘Salwa Judum’, who were on a land-grab spree. Over three decades of work in the region by Dr.Sen to restore rights to the dispossessed has boomeranged, he himself now being dubbed an ‘enemy of the State’. That he has consistently been denied bail for two years and that now he is even being denied necessary medical help seems just a churlish retaliation against a humanitarian doctor who spared no opportunity to criticize and expose the abysmal human rights record of the Chhattisgarh government.
Come One, Come All!
Two Years is Too much!
It’s now two years since Dr. Binayak Sen was arrested on 14th May, 2007, by the BJP govt. in Chhattisgarh on false charges of being a naxal accomplice. Despite many many protests not only all over India but the world over, and lack of any evidence during his trial so far to justify these wild charges against him, he still remains in jail. He has been denied even bail and what is more, despite the Raipur High Court’s directive, the vicious administration is not letting him go to the hospital of his choice for the investigation and treatment of his life threatening coronary artery disease.
To protest against this injustice we have organizing a Protest March to the BJP office in Pune on 14th May, as part of the All India Programme of Protests. (The police would stop us at some distance from the BJP office; but our slogans would surely reach them!)
14th May is a working day. But try your best to come. Today it’s Binayak, tomorrow; it may be any of us! Express your solidarity by joining the Protest March!
Rally: Date: 14th May, 2009 (Thursday),
At: 5.00 pm.
From: Senapati Bapat Statue, Pune
To: ‘Tambadi Jogeshwari Mandir’ near Appa Balwant Chowk, for a Protest Meeting
(Pl. reach Senapati Bapat Statue at 5.00 pm SHARP)
Release Dr. Binayak Sen Committee, Pune
(Adivasi Mahasangh, Arogya Sena, Kabeer Kala Manch, Krantivir Bhagatsing Brigade, National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), Pune Shahar Molakarin Sanghatana, Pragatishil Bharatiya Muslim Aandolan, Bharat Dnyan Vidnya Samuday, Bharatiya Mahila Fedration, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Samata Pratishathan, Maharashtra Pradesh Sravodya Mandal, Medico Friend Circle, Yuvak Kranti Dal, Rashtra Seva Dal, Lokayat, Lok Swatnatrata Sanghatana, Lok Panchayat, Vima Kamgar Sanghatana Pune, Shramik Mahila Morcha, Sarva Shramik Sanghatana.)
Our Demands –
- Drop all charges against Dr Binayak Sen enabling his unconditional release.
- Withdraw the draconian Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act (CSPSA) and release all prisoners like Binayak sen, arrested under CSPSA.
- Stop ‘Salwa Judum’
- Day long cycling and pamphleteering across the city,
- Public Meeting and Cultural evening marking the second year of incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen
- 14th May, 2009
- Cycling and pamphleteering across the city – 9.00 a.m to 4.00 p.m
- Public Meeting and Cultural Programme – 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm
- Cycling and Pamphleteering – Refer list of places attached
- Public Meeting and Cultural Programme – Gandhi Statue, Marina Beach
Speakers for the public meeting
- Subbu -Treasurer, New Trade Union Initiative
- Marx. A -State Organiser, People’s Union for Human Rights
- Geetha. V -Feminist, Historian.
- Sujata Mody -Pen Thozhizhar Sangam
- Sathish -Pudhiya Porali
- Dr. Aravindhan
- Cultural Programme – Thandora
- Poetry Reading – Anirudh Vasudevan
May14th, 2009 marks two years of incarceration of the people’s doctor, Dr. Binayak Sen. Jailed in 2007 by the Chhatisgarh government under sections of the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, and the IPC, he remains in Raipur jail after repeatedly being denied bail in spite of wide spread opposition from across the world. Dr. Binayak Sen, like many others who speak out against gross human rights violations committed by governments has fallen victim to the ruthless state repression of the Right to Freedom of Expression and dissent.
Youth and workers from the unorganized sector will come together to take out a cycle rally and distribute pamphlets throughout the city to demand the immediate release of Dr.Binyak Sen. A public meeting and cultural program is planned at Gandhi Statue at Marina Beach. We feel it is the need of the hour to come together to not only demand for Dr.Sen’s release but use the opportunity marking the second year of his incarceration to raise our voices in protest against State suppression of the freedom of speech, expression and dissent.
Organised in solidarity with the Free Dr. Binayak Sen campaign
Take a look at Two Years too Much!! Page for a list of actions happening around May 14th, 2nd anniversary of Dr. Binayak Sen’s unjust imprisonment
On 14th May, 2009, Dr. Binayak Sen – paediatrician and one of India’s finest human rights activist – will be completing two years in jail. Dr. Sen is in jail because he raised his voice against Salwa Judum – an illegal private army created by the Chattisgarh state government which now even the Supreme Court has criticised, because he was protesting the forcible displacement of lakhs of tribals in the state in the name of development, because he exposed fake encounter killings by the police. To silence his tireless and fearless voice, the government has incarcerated him under the draconian CSPSA and UAPA – undemocratic laws which give almost unlimited powers to the police to arrest and put behind bars for years ordinary people!
It is a part of the general attack on democratic rights taking place all over the country. It is related to the kind of development taking place all over the country in the name of globalization:
The politicians, bureaucracy, police have launched a ferocious offensive on the lands, water and forests of the poor. They want to seize control of these means of livelihoods of the common people and transfer them to giant corporations – Indian and foreign – so that they can set up mining projects, mega industrial projects, SEZs, tourism projects, residential projects for the rich, and so on, and earn super profits.
It has led to massive displacement of people and loss of their livelihoods. The people are obviously fighting back. And so, under all kinds of pretexts like fighting terrorism, the criminals and murderers who dominate the Indian Parliament are passing the most draconian laws which give almost unlimited powers to the police to arrest and put behind bars for years ordinary people!
To raise awareness among the people about the kind of development in the country and the attack on human rights, Lokayat is organising a documentary festival on this Saturday.
Dr. Binayak Sen Film Festival
Date: May 9, 2009
Time: 5 – 8 pm
Venue: Lokayat Hall, opp. Syndicate Bank, Law College Road, Near Nal Stop, Pune
Entry is free.