Posts Tagged ‘PUCL
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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For the People’s Right to say No to displacement and Tribal Genocide And to demandthe right to live with justice and peace
Raipur / Dantewada
1 December 2009
You are aware that the tribals of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh State are continuously facing large-scale displacement from their homes, fields and forests a well as a genocide in the last five years. The first aggressive onslaught was by the state sponsored vigilante group called the Salwa Judum. In the last five months, the people of this region are victims of a war called the Operation Green Hunt. Paramilitary troops along with the state armed police deployed in very large numbers by the Central and the state governments are carrying out operations against the tribals in the name of curbing Maoists and reclaiming territories from them.
In order to build public opinion and to support the tribal people in their demand to stop this displacement and genocide and to reclaim their right to live with justice and peace, several community based and people’s organisations, union and human rights groups from Chhattisgarh and outside are planning a series of activities in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.
This letter is being sent to you so that you can block the dates between 14 December 2009 and 7 January 2010 and come to Dantewada in support of tribal people. The list of events and dates are as follows:
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FIRST TIME SINCE HIS RLEASE FROM PRISON IN MAY 2009
DATE: 25th JULY, 2009
TIME: 2 pm to 4.30 pm
VENUE: Indian Social Institute, 10, LODI INSTITUTIONAL AREA,
NEAR SAI BABA TEMPLE, DELHI
Dr. Binayak Sen will be in Delhi on the 25th July, 2009, for the first time since his release from Raipur prison. This is an important occasion for us to meet him and him meeting us. The campaign for the release of Dr. Binayak Sen was one issue which brought together on one platform several thousands of activists and ordinary people from all over the Country and from different parts of the World. There was only once voice that Dr. Sen be released and that his arrest was illegal.
We all know that had it not been for the Marches, Protests, Sit in programmes, Satyagrahs, Editorial positions by newspapers, broadcasting the issue in the electronic media, appeals by noble laureates etc, Binayak’s incarceration may have continued.
- Let us celebrate our SUCCESS about Dr. Sen’s release while he is in Delhi by coming in person to the meeting.
- Let us also discuss as to how to get the Central and State Government to talk PEACE with the Maoists. As well as stopping it from carrying out military action in September, in the name of Maoists which will essentially take away the lives of several innocent tribals in Chattishgarh and other States.
WE hope that you will join us on this occasion. We also hope that you will circulate this mail to all other friends in Delhi.
Committee for the Release of Dr. Binayak Sen
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Raipur, July 14, 2009
The Chhattisgarh Unit of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has deplored the killings of 30 policemen in Maoist’s attack on 12th July 2009 at Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh. The PUCL appeals to the Government, Maoists and Salwa-Judum to put an end to killings and violence and create conducive environment for resolving the issues and concerns through political dialogue and peace talks.
The PUCL pays its homage to all police personnel killed in the attack by Maoists, especially remembering Shri V K Chaubey, Superintendent of Police, Rajnandgaon, who was known for his simple ways and strict discipline. PUCL expresses its condolences and solace to the bereaved families.
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.
MEMORANDUM GIVEN TO DANTEWADA SP RAHUL SHARMA AND THE COLLETCOR OF DANTEWADA ON DEMOLITION OF VANVASI CHETNA ASHRAM ON MAY 17 2009 BY FACTFINDING TEAM
- The Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA) was implementing various government schemes in the area including Mitanin health programme , watershed development, water and sanitation programme in villages and Salwa judum camps and Himanshu Kumar was also on various government committees including district legal aid committee. It is inexplicable why an ashram run by him should have been demolished.
- We think the government should have been grateful to him as he has been doing this constructive work in the region for the last 17 years, without any vested interest.
- As the matter of land is subjudice the action of the demolition of the ashram by the district administration was unwarranted.
- The authorities’ contention that the land which was earlier agricultural land in government records was changed to revenue forest land , is unprecendented, We think that the due process was not followed in this case.
- The VCA was engaged in the important task of resettling the internally displaced persons in their original villages which no government agency had undertaken inspite of the Supreme Courts instruction to the CG government.
- The team spoke to various persons ( villagers, civil society activists and local media persons ) in Kanwalnar, Lingagiri, Basagudha, Kamaram, Bijapur and Dantewada.All of them confirmed and acclaimed the constructive work that the VCA has been doing in the region
- The resettled villagers need immediate provision of facilities like PDS, primary health, primary education and ;public transport and also to meet their immediate needs for foing agriculture We hope the government would do the needful in this regard without delay.
- We sincerely hope the authorities would take remedial measures at the earliest to mitigate the problems of the VCA and enable to it continue its constructive work in the area.
- Magasaysay award winner, Social Activist- Dr Sandeep Pandey, Lucknow
- President Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha ( CMM), former MLA-Janak Lal Thakur, Dalli- Rajhara
- Senior Journalist Editor Mainstream- Sumit Chakravartty, New Delhi
- Human Rights Lawyer and Women Rights Activist- Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai
- Editor Combat Law- Dr Harsh Dobhal, New Delhi
- PUCL Chattisgarh- Vijendra – Raipur
THE DETAILED REPORT WILL FOLLOW
Noted human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen has said most of the land in Chhattisgarh was acquired at gun-point for big industrial houses. In the packed confines of the historic Students’ Hall in College Square, Sen, released recently on bail from the Raipur Central Jail after two years, made his first public appearance at a seminar on public health on Saturday.
When asked about his acting as a mediator if the Chhattisgarh government and Maoists come to the talking table, he said, “I am willing to promote peace and I want a political solution to the conflict,” Sen said.
Two years after his arrest, Binayak Sen was granted bail on Monday. Better late than never. Sen, an internationally acclaimed public health activist, had been held as an undertrial prisoner in a Chhattisgarh jail since May 2007.
The state government should take action if it has evidence of Sen’s alleged terrorist links. But the police have failed to produce any so far. Yet, the authorities repeatedly blocked Sen’s plea for bail despite his deteriorating heart condition and appeals by the international community, including 22 Nobel laureates, endorsing his credentials. The right to bail is a democratic right of every accused. To argue against bail without giving any reasonable explanation is to deny a citizen his basic rights. No wonder the apex court gave Sen unconditional bail without even waiting for the lawyers to make submissions.
Sen’s plight exposes yet again a major flaw in our criminal justice system. Prolonged delays in the legal process have led to almost a collapse of the system. There are over 2,45,000 undertrials 5 per cent of the prison population in our jails, according to the National Crime Records Bureau figures for 2006, and many of them, reportedly, have served jail terms exceeding the punishment they would have got if convicted.
This appalling statistic is a reflection of the disregard state authorities often display towards the law and the rights of citizens. In the case of Sen, there is reason to suspect that the government turned hostile on account of his work as a civil rights activist. Is it only a coincidence that Sen was arrested soon after PUCL, a human rights body with which Sen is associated as national vice-president, demanded a CBI inquiry into encounter killings in Chhattisgarh?
Chhattisgarh faces a serious threat from Maoists. However, it can’t deal with extremists by targeting civil rights activists who argue for democratic methods to address social and economic concerns. These social activists play an important role in building a democratic public culture and strengthening public institutions.
Sen, for instance, has been working to provide effective and inexpensive health care to the poor in Chhattisgarh for almost three decades. In the absence of a vibrant civil society and activists, outfits like those of the Maoists are able to propose their illiberal political visions as the only solution to counter the failures of the state government. The Raman Singh government seems to be waging a war against the wrong people.
I will try to resolve the conflict through political engagement, military engagement is not a solution
“I take this opportunity to remember thousands of people who are languishing in jail in many states after being detained under draconian and black laws like the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. I am not alone. There are many others in several states. I am with them.”
Raipur, May 26 (IANS) A day after the Supreme Court granted him bail, noted human rights activist Binayak Sen walked out of jail Tuesday evening after a more than two-year-long confinement, amid jubilation by dozens of rights activists.
Emerging out of Raipur central jail, Sen, whose wife Ilina was by his side, asserted that his struggle for peace would continue and he condemned all violence in the state.
“I will continue to fight and struggle for peace, any sort of violence whether it is by the military or by the Maoists, I condemn. I will try to resolve the conflict through political engagement, military engagement is not a solution,” he told reporters.
Sen also called for “Salwa Judum”, the state government-backed civil militia movement, to be scrapped.
“My effort for restoration of peace will continue, I will continue to work for the people in the state,” he added.
India Continues to Imprison Human Rights Activist Dr. Binayak Sen
Last week marked the second anniversary of the detention of the internationally recognized award-winning human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen, who’s worked as a public health professional in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh for twenty-five years. He was arrested on May 14, 2007, for allegedly helping the Maoist, also known as the Naxalite, insurgency in the state and detained under one of India’s most draconian laws, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.
Watch it/ Download MP3 at Democracy Now
ANJALI KAMAT: Well, moving on to Binayak Sen, last week marked the second anniversary of the detention of the internationally recognized, award-winning human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen, who has worked as a public health professional in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh for twenty-five years. He was arrested on May 14th, 2007, for allegedly helping the Maoist, also known as the Naxalite, insurgency in the state and detained under one of India’s most draconian laws, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. He’s the National Vice President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, or the PUCL. He’s been denied bail and medical treatment, despite his worsening health.
I spoke to his wife, Ilina Sen, on Sunday.