Posts Tagged ‘Guha
Hindustan Times, January 03, 2011
by Praful Bidwai
The Raipur sessions court judgment against civil liberties defender and health activist Binayak Sen has provoked outrage. His two-year long detention had drawn protests from the world over. The only substantial charge against Sen is that he passed on three letters from Narayan Sanyal, an undertrial, suspected — but not yet proved — to be a Maoist, to the Maoist leadership.
It takes several leaps of imagination, or nasty prejudice, to pronounce that carrying three pieces of paper containing trivialities such as congratulating the CPI (Maoist) on completing its party congress, amounts to sedition. Sedition means spreading disaffection against the state. It was introduced into the Indian Penal Code by the colonial State to repress the freedom struggle and muzzle the freedom of expression.
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By Krishna Pokharel
India Real Time
Wall Street Journal
The Chhattisgarh court verdict that convicted Binayak Sen of sedition and sentenced him to life in prison has largely generated support and sympathy for the doctor who has spent most of his life working among tribal Indians in conflict-afflicted central India. Only a few voices said they agreed with the verdict. India Real Time presents a sample of what people said about the decision:
Dr. Sen was convicted for passing on notes from a Maoist prisoner he was treating, which the doctor has denied doing. The state in which he was convicted is at the heart of a violent Maoist rebellion against the Indian government. The rebels say they are fighting on behalf of poor tribals who stand to lose as industry tries to extract the mineral riches of central India.
Journalist M.J. Akbar, editor of the weekly magazine India Today, wrote on his personal blog on Saturday: “India has become a strange democracy where Binayak Sen gets life in jail and dacoits get a life in luxury.”
The “dacoits” in that sentence is a reference to politicians being investigated in connection with a spate of corruption scandals this year.
“Binayak made a fundamental, mortal mistake. He was on the side of the poor. That is a non-negotiable error in our oligarchic democracy,” Mr. Akbar continued, adding a personal touch. “Sen, who was senior to me in school, was and remains the gentlest of people, distinguished only by a fierce commitment to his cause of choice. I do not agree with his political views or inclinations; nor does the political system. But it is only in a dictatorship that disagreement is sufficient reason for incarceration.”
Thirty years ago, in an act I still feel guilty about, I woke up a very great Indian from his sleep. I was volunteering at a conference in New Delhi, and had been asked to fetch the Member of Parliament from Dhanbad, AK Roy, from his quarters in Vithalbhai Patel House. Roy, a labour leader legendary for his integrity and his wide range of reading, had been elected from the mining town as an Independent, his campaign funds raised from the workers themselves. It was characteristic of the man (and perhaps also of the times) that instead of asking for a Lutyens’ bungalow or even a spacious flat on South Avenue, he settled on a single room in a tall, dark, unattractive building off Parliament Street.
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