Posts Tagged ‘Press Release
The Committee for the Release of Dr Binayak Sen, Mumbai, Mumbai expresses its grave concern at the report of demolition of the premises of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA) in Dantewara, Chhattisgarh by the local administrative authorities on the morning of 17th May 2009, and the subsequent detention, harassment and brutal bashing up of some of the inmates, visitors and volunteers including students and journalists – both men and women.
The sudden demolition on the plea of encroachment of forest land and regardless of the fact that a court case is already pending, as it is more than evident, was carried out just to intimidate and stifle any and every voice of conscientious dissent raised against the barbaric and utterly illegal ongoing Salwa Judum campaign of the BJP-government of Chhattisgarh.
The Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, had been set up and has been working since for the welfare of the local adivasi way back in 1992. Since 2005, it is raising its voice to demand government accountability and social justice in the light of violence against adivasis and their forced displacement from their villages by the state-sponsored militia Salwa Judum, in Dantewada and Bijapur districts. The VCA is one of the few community organisations engaged in resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced adivasis by organising individual and community support programmes under very adverse conditions.
International Groups Demand Justice on the Second Anniversary of Dr. Binayak Sen’s Ongoing Imprisonment
Press Contact: Somnath Mukherji
May 14, Cambridge, MA: Student and human rights groups gathered on May 14th in several cities in the U.S. and Europe, including Boston, Washington, D.C., Buffalo, Philadelphia, London, Edinburgh and Berlin, to protest the continued and unjust incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen by the government of the state of Chhattisgarh, India.
Close to 70 people stood in a circle in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, to mark the second anniversary of his imprisonment and demand his immediate release. The group chanted, “Jailing him is insane – Free, Free Binayak Sen”. Coming from diverse backgrounds, people held up posters asking whether the price of working for the poor was jail. The gathering demanded the freedom of Dr. Sen along with the freedom from corruption and oppression of the indigenous communities of Chhattisgarh, for whom Dr. Sen has dedicated his life.
Dr. Sen, a human rights activist and physician for the poor, has been under detention without bail since May 2007. The protests are part of an ongoing global campaign by a coalition of over 50 International groups, including Amnesty International, Association for India’s Development, National Lawyers’ Guild and a group of 22 Nobel Laureates, which have all called for the immediate release of Dr. Sen. In India, thousands of supporters are courting arrest as part of the Raipur Satyagraha, a mass civil disobedience action in the city of Raipur where Dr. Sen is incarcerated.
Under the auspices of People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Movement for Secular Democracy, 75-80 people from Gujarat belonging to different human rights and people’s organisations today staged a candle light protest demanding the immediate release of Dr. Binayak Sen, an internationally renowned medical doctor and human rights activist incarcerated in Raipur jail in the state of Chhatisgarh since May 14, 2007. The gathering included activists, lawyers, trade unionists, cultural artists, poets and writers, academicians, students among whom were Girish Patel, Prakash Shah, Dwarikanath Rath, Gautam Thakar, Prof. Ghanshyam Shah, Dr. Sarup Dhruv, Dr. Mukul Sinha, Dr. Mallika Sarabhai, Charul Bharwada, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Ashim Roy, Sonal Mehta, Kabir Thakore, Harinesh Pandya, Dr. Hanif Lakdawala, Nandini Oza, Sheba George, Damini Shah, Persis Ginwala, Hiren Gandhi, Bharat Jhala and Manishi Jani. That after 59 years of India’s Constitution a human rights activist and a humanist doctor is charged with offences against the state including treason under the IPC is a shameful mockery of India’s Constitution and human rights. The people questioned how and why a human rights activist was required to remain in jail without any bail either from the courts of Chhatisgarh or even from the Supreme Court. They felt that this fact speaks much about the working of different institutions under the Indian constitution. People also felt that it is an irony that those who commit serious crimes against humanity and grossly violate the Constitution of India are in power while those with sensitivity and who fight for basic human rights of the poor and marginalized are in prison. They demanded that the charges against Dr. Sen be immediately dropped, that he be provided immediate medical facilities as demanded by him and that he be immediately released and those responsible for this miscarriage of justice apologize to “We, the people of India’ who have given to themselves this Constitution.
The gathering passed a resolution outlining the above demands and severely condemned the role of the Chhatisgarh government . This was followed by a song “Saathi dar mat jaana”, specially written for Dr. Binayak Sen and Lalit Mehta by Vinay and Charul of Loknaad and presented by cultural activists.
Chain gang of shackled doctors highlight plight of doctor imprisoned on “trumped up charges”
A “chain gang” of shackled doctors will parade in Edinburgh to call for the release of one particular doctor who dared to speak out on behalf of his patients – and was thrown into jail for his troubles.
Individually handcuffed, and chained together, 30 campaigners dressed as doctors with white coats, stethoscopes and masks will highlight the plight of Dr Binayak Sen, an award-winning paediatrician who has spent three decades serving poor communities in central India. He was imprisoned on 14th May 2007 on what Amnesty International has called “trumped up charges”, with his only crime being to expose the negative impact of government policies on poor people in the region.
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India: Global protests & web appeal as doctor who championed the poor marks two years in jail : Amnesty UK
Posted: 12 May 2009
Amnesty International, UK
Amnesty International launches a new appeal on 14 May calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Binayak Sen, a human rights defender and pioneer of health care to marginalised communities in India, as Dr Sen completes his second year behind bars.
Dr Sen, 59, was arrested on 14 May 2007. Seven months passed before proper charges were filed against him, during which time he was denied bail and kept in soiltary confinement. He was finally charged with facilitating armed Maoist violence and if convicted, he could face a life term in jail. His trial has faced repeated, prolonged delays and has still reached no conclusion, months after legal proceedings began. Amnesty International believes that the charges and evidence against Dr Sen are baseless and politically motivated.
On 14 May, campaigners around the world – in London, Edinburgh, Germany, Italy, the US and in locations all over India – will be protesting against Binayak Sen’s continuing incarceration. Many of them are fellow doctors who have taken up Dr Sen’s case. Amnesty is asking people to go to www.amnesty.org.uk/binayak-sen to send an appeal to the Indian authorities calling for the immediate release of Dr Sen.
Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:
‘Dr Sen is a champion of the poor and the marginalised. He has set up pioneering community health clinics and has stood up for indigenous communities whose voices are seldom heard. He has spoken out about government abuses of human rights when others were silent. Yet now he finds himself marking his second year in jail.
‘Dr Sen’s imprisonment is a glaring example of how the Indian authorities misuse security legislation to target activists. The new powers contain vague and sweeping definitions of ‘unlawful activities’.
‘Under no circumstances should peacefully defending people’s human rights be termed an ‘unlawful activity’ Dr Sen should be released immediately and allowed to get back to his important work for the local community.’
Prior to his arrest, Dr Sen had criticised the state authorities for enacting special security legislation. He had also highlighted unlawful killings of adivasis (indigenous people) by the police and by Salwa Judum, a private militia widely held to be sponsored by the state authorities to fight the guerrillas of the CPI (Maoist). The state authorities have so far failed to conduct effective and impartial investigations into these unlawful killings.
A dedicated doctor with brilliant academic records, a doctor settled in Raipur with the mission of serving the poor and oppressed adivasis, a leading human rights activist, national Vice President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), state Secretary of PUCL Chattisgarh – this is Dr Binayak Sen. And Dr. Sen is languishing behind the bars for two years now because of vindictive actions of the government of Chattisgarh.
Dr Sen was thrown behind bars on May 14, 2007, under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) 2005 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) 2004. As a result he has been persistently denied bail, even though by now charges against him have been framed and the case is crumbling.
The principal charge against Dr Sen was that he was smuggling letters to and from an ailing and elderly imprisoned Maoist leader, Narayan Sanyal. In the capacity of a human rights activist and a doctor of some repute, Dr Sen had been visiting Sanyal in the Raipur jail with due permission from the jailor. And, whenever Dr Sen would visit the jail, as per the norms laid down by the jail manual, he would to be thoroughly searched while going in and coming out of the jail premises. So the charge is just ridiculous.
Dr Sen has played a stellar role in drawing national and international attention to the gross and large-scale atrocities perpetrated by Salwa Judum, a private militia set up by the state government, purportedly to fight out Maoist insurgency in the Bastar region. Dr Sen’s efforts did not go without success – the Supreme Court of India in April 2008 passed a stricture against the Chattisgarh government in this regard.
Dr Sen’s imprisonment is an obvious act of revenge. The arrest is also meant to be a chilling message to others that it is best not to mess with the state government and its brutal and evidently illegal Salwa Judum campaign.
National as well as internationally renowned figures – including retired Supreme Court judge and jurist V R Krishna Iyer, 22 Nobel laureates, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy and leading doctors – have appealed for his release. The international prestigious medical journal ‘The Lancet’, in its two consecutive issues (in April and May 2009) has strongly critiqued the Indian judicial system. The Amnesty International and other well-known human rights organisations have appealed for his release.
Currently, he is suffering from life-threatening heart ailments, and under the trial court’s instruction, a doctor from Raipur examined Dr Sen and referred to the Christian Medical College in Vellore, Dr Sen’s alma mater, for further diagnosis and treatment on an urgent basis. Yet, the Chattisgarh government is barricading it, even though Dr Sen is ready to bear the costs of his own medical treatment. The Chattisgarh government surely is trying its best to snuff life out of this intrepid fighter.
In solidarity with Dr Sen and his life’s mission, an outraged Mumbai has been observing protest gatherings every Monday afternoon since April 27, 2009, in sync with the ongoing satyagraha and courting arrest programme in Raipur, which has been on every Monday since March 16, 2009.
May 14, 2009: On the occasion of the second anniversary of Dr Sen’s imprisonment, a public meet will be held at Dhuru Hall, Dadar(W) at 6.30 PM. In the meeting, apart from prominent speakers, well-known and young poets would be reciting and reading out original compositions appropriate to the occasion. And famed artistes would render inspiring and soulful songs. Protests paintings would also be up on display.
The Director General of Police,
I am writing to you with regards to the correspondence between me and the Former DGP, Chattisgarh Shri Vishwaranjanji on the heinous killings of the three tribal of Kothrapal village of the 18th of March, 2008. I attach herewith the letter written by me to the DGP which out all the facts. In response to my letter, the DGP wrote a lengthy letter, which, however was far more removed from facts and was quite misleading.
Having gone through the letter of Vishwaranjanji and confirming with activists and people on the ground, including the wisdoms and victims themselves, it seems to us that the DGP has written only on the basis of unverified information received from his staff on the field. The story he had written to me is far away from the description given by the widows and the one who survived. We have many reasons to rely on victims’ narration on the following factual grounds:
- All victims are giving the same narrative and there is no contradiction in any body’s version.
- The widows and persons survived have beating marks on their back; which confirms their claim of being beaten by police & SPOs and if their husbands were taken away and killed by Naxals; how these widows got beating marks; while survivor Somadu Kudiyam has broken rib & fractured arm, as shown clearly by the x-ray.
- Our field activists have talked personally with many other camp inmates who are confirming the widows allegation as true.
- The victims themselves met DGP Vishwaranjanji in his office at Raipur; where they narrated the whole incident to the DGP and he did not raise any questions on the reliability of the victims then.
It is also indeed true that people are forcibly being brought in Salwa Judum Camps and are still kept there by threat and intimidation.
I hope you will, at least now investigate into these unlawful acts and in fact the entire monstor of Salwa Judum and guarantee peace, justice and a life with all fundamental rights to the adivasis of Chattisgarh.
Pune :‘The doctor appointed by the court has recommended that Sen should be sent to CMC Vellore for heart treatment’
People from various walks of life in Pune on Monday issued an open letter to L K Advani, Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, asking for his intervention to ensure the speedy release of Dr Binayak Sen.
The BJP leads the government in Chhattisgarh which is responsible for keeping Sen in jail since nearly two years without any evidence, the letter said. The letter states that the Chhattisgarh government “continues to oppose even the bail application for this public-spirited doctor and civil liberties activist. Until now the trial of Dr Sen has not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him.”
This open letter has been signed by personalities from different fields including Bhai Vaidya, Baba Adhav, Justice B G Kolse-Patil, Dr Shriram Lagoo, Deepa Lagoo, Vidya Bal, Dr Sulabha Brahme, Prof Jaya Sagade, Atul Pethe, Makarand Sathe, Prof Suhas Palshikar, Prof Yash Sumant, Dr Vinay Kulkarni, Dr Abhijit Vaidya, Dr Nandu Kanade, a press release issued here stated.
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AGAINST THE BLACK LAWS & FOR RELEASE OF Dr. BINAYAK SEN, AJAY TG & Ors.
PUCL Chhattisgarh Press Release:
17th June, 2008: Raipur (Chhattisgarh)
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Chhattisgarh Unit) release a list of more than 70 organizations from about 25 states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UK, USA, and other nations who have endorsed the campaign for the release of defenders of human rights like Dr. Binayak Sen, Ajay T G, and Ors, who have been detained under the draconian law called The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967 (Amended in 2004).
In a press release issued today, Adv Rajendra K Sail, President, CG-PUCL informed that the 10-day Group Fast began on 16th June, 2008 at Raipur around 2 pm to express solidarity with Dr. Binayak Sen (Medical Doctor), Ajay T G (Film Maker), both members of the PUCL, and many others detained under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967) amended in 2004.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dr. Binayak Sen, in Custody in India, Unable to Travel to U.S. to Accept Prestigious Human Rights Award
Tel: (617) 301-4232
Cell: (617) 413-6407
May 14th, 2008 marked the First Anniversary of the arrest and detention of Dr. Binayak Sen, a physician and human rights activist detained by Indian Authorities for his alleged involvement with prisoners who are a part of the banned Communist Party. Dr. Sen, a pediatrician who has dedicated his life to the service of the poor and underprivileged in India has been imprisoned in Raipur, Chhattisgarh for nearly one year. His trial began on April 30th of this year. Informed observers believe that the arrest of Dr. Sen is an effort by the authorities to intimidate advocates for human rights, especially those of the poor, including marginalized tribal populations in India.
The Global Health Council announced on April 21st that Dr. Sen is the winner of the 2008 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. Leaders in the fields of health and human rights including Global Health Council President and CEO Nils Daulaire, Jim Yong Kim of Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, as well as PHR’s CEO Frank Donaghue signed a letter to Indian officials supporting the release of Dr. Sen to travel to Washington, DC to receive the award in person on May 29th, 2008.