Posts Tagged ‘statements
Civil society groups, academics and human rights activists have come together and appealed to the Chhattisgarh High Court to reverse the “injustice” meted out to human rights activist Binayak Sen.
In an appeal sent to the Chief Justice of the High Court, they said that if this was not ensured, India’s already dented credentials as a democracy and an upholder of human rights would be irreversibly damaged.
“While hearing the appeal for bail and reversal of the judgment of the Raipur sessions court, we urge the Chhattisgarh High Court to consider this case in the light of the complete lack of concrete and independent evidence against Dr. Sen, and his demonstrated commitment to promote human rights through non-violent means. It would be highly desirable to ensure speediest possible hearings in this case, enabling an early decision,” the appeal said. It expressed confidence that given the entire background, timely justice would be done.
The appeal was issued at the end of the annual meeting of the Medico Friend Circle held in Nagpur.
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The life sentence awarded to Binayak Sen would only accelerate the process of debasement of democracy and the rule of law.
THE Raipur Sessions Court has shocked the citizen’s conscience by delivering a judgment that makes a mockery of fundamental rights. The judgment against human rights defender and health activist Binayak Sen has brought unprecedented disgrace and ignominy upon India’s judicial system, and more generally, upon Indian society and politics. It will take a Herculean effort to roll back the personal, institutional, social and political damage that the verdict has caused. Merely overturning it in a higher court will not be enough.
Awarding life imprisonment to someone charged with an offence no greater than that of passing on letters from an undertrial prisoner to an allegedly extremist group’s leaders should appear altogether revolting to a civilised mind. This violates the principle of proportionality between crime and punishment (or provocation and reprisal).
Times of India, 7 January 2011
by Dipankar Gupta
When Binayak Sen was arrested it gave a much-needed boost to the Maoists. As they advocate violence to achieve their ends, it is like oxygen for them every time the state commits a travesty of justice. It is worth remembering that armed movements, of whatever variety, have succeeded only in autocratic, dictatorial and monarchical states, but never in democratic ones.
If there is one major reason why communists have failed in contemporary times, it is because they do not know how to function in a democracy. Whether it is Russia, China or Cuba, communists struck successfully in places where democracy was missing. This generalisation holds true not just in the case of insurrectionary communists, but for all those who advocate violence as a political weapon.
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We have been listening and reading about Dr Sen’s court decision since the day it has been pronounced. But since the original decision is in Hindi and is 92 pages long, hence many would be possibly have got the opportunity to read and understand it. I hope, u appreciate the fact that the judgement can be fully appreciated only when one has gone through it in its totality.
Here is my attempt at presenting the basic and more important facts of the Court judgement in the much-discussed Dr Binayak Sen case (translating the Hindi version to the best of my abilities)., without giving any cooments on my behalf. This being a highly sensitive matter, I extend my apologies for any unintended error or misrepresentation.
Currently at IIM Lucknow
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An Open Letter to the Honourable President of India, Smt Pratibha Patil and , Prime Minister on the outrageous conviction of Dr. Binayak Sen
Women against Sexual violence and State Repression (WSS)
Delhi dt. 25th December 2010
Women against Sexual Violence and State repression (WSS) is outraged at the charges framed and the conviction by the Additional Sessions Court, Raipur of Dr. Binayak Sen on Dcember 24 2010. As citizens of the Democratic Republic of India we are also deeply saddened at this colossal betrayal of public trust by those who owe allegiance to the practice of law, and who have been entrusted with upholding the principles of fair play and truth that we believe the Constitution of this country has enshrined.
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The meeting held at Jadavpur University on 14 May from 4:00 pm onwards was attended by about 150 people, of whom some 110-odd signed a statement. Some of Kolkata’s best-known scholars, intellectuals, teachers, NGO representatives attended. Student turnout was, unfortunately, low, since university examinations are underway. There were a few brief speeches, Dr. Ilina Sen’s speech when she received the Jonathan Mann award on behalf of Dr. Binayak Sen was read out, a few people who know Dr. Sen’s mother personally spoke about her. There were several poems that were recited and quite a few songs were sung.
Dr Binayak Sen, a doctor and human rights activist has been imprisoned in Raipur Central Prison since 14 May 2007 under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act (2005) and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967, amended 2004).
Dr Binayak Sen is in poor health and suffering from cardiac problems. On 4 May 2009, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the Chattisgarh government to provide Dr Binayak Sen with “ the best possible medical aid”.
A group of concerned citizens comprising students, teachers, journalists, NGO workers, human rights activists among others, assembled at Jadavpur University in Kolkata at 4:00 pm on 14 May 2009. They gathered to mark two years of the incarceration of Binayak Sen and to emphasise the need to protest against abuse of the rights of citizens by the state.
The group demands, that
- Government must immediately provide safe and good quality medical treatment for Dr Binayak Sen at a hospital approved by Dr Sen and his family.
- Charges against Dr Binayak Sen be dropped, or failing that, Dr Sen be released immediately on bail.
- Militia raised by the state, like Salwa Judum, be disbanded immediately and the rule of law restored.
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.
Aruna Roy, Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dey, Lal Singh, Bhanwar Meghvanshi on behalf of the MKSS
On 14 May 2009 Dr Binayak Sen, the well known paediatrician and human rights defender will complete two years in a Raipur prison on false charges of abetting Maoist activity in Chhattisgarh.
Binayak Sen is one of India’s finest public-spirited doctors, who has spent over three decades in the service of some of the most neglected and disenfranchised people in this country. His continued imprisonment and the deafness of the ruling establishment to pleas from eminent people from India and all over the world, is a disgrace for Indian democracy. The specious grounds on which bail has been denied to Binayak, makes a charade of the Indian judicial system. It is indeed a travesty of all justice in a country where perpetrators of mass violence not just roam free but contest elections and come to power.
The trial of Dr Sen , which began in a Raipur sessions court late April 2008, has not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him. By end 2008, of the 83 witnesses listed for deposition by the prosecution 16 were dropped by the prosecutors themselves, 6 declared ‘hostile’, while 30 others have deposed without corroborating any of the accusations against Dr Sen.
The real ‘crime’ for which Dr Sen is being punished is his courageous work exposing the human rights violations by police forces in Chhattisgarh. As national Vice President of the Peoples Union of Civil Liberties, one of India’s oldest human rights groups, Dr Sen produced several reports criticising the Chhattisgarh government’s ‘Salwa Judum’ campaign, which arms vigilante civilian groups to fight the Maoists.
As Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer stated recently, instead of recognising their social contributions the Indian State, by wrongly branding Dr Sen and many others like him as ‘terrorists’, is making a complete mockery of not just democratic norms and fair governance but its entire anti-terrorist strategy and operations.
In persisting with its policy of detention of Dr. Binayak Sen , the Indian State is violating universally acknowledged values of democracy and justice. We demand the release of Dr. Binayak Sen, on the day that marks two years of his incarceration .
Anyone trying to figure out, after the recent Mumbai attacks, whether India will ever win its war on terrorism should take a close look at a court case currently underway in the central Indian province of Chhattisgarh.
On 2nd December 2008, a High Court judge in Bilaspur summarily rejected a bail application filed by Dr Binayak Sen, well known public health and human rights activist currently detained in a Raipur jail, confounding all known principles of law, fair play and justice. As if that were not enough a few days later the provincial police authorities, taking their political vendetta against Dr Sen further, filed supplementary charges against him, adding on another 43 witnesses to the 83 already listed in the case.
While real terrorists plant bombs and shoot down people at whim in major Indian cities, scores of innocent young men, political dissidents and human rights activists like Dr Sen languish in the country’s prisons falsely accused of terrorist links and activities.
Dr Sen, has been behind bars since 14 May 2007 under a draconian anti-terrorist legislation, the Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act. The good doctor, renowned worldwide for his public health work among the rural poor, has been arrested on trumped up charges of ‘treason, waging war against the state and abetting activities of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist)’.
More specifically, state prosecutors claim Binayak, as part of an unproven conspiracy, passed on a set of letters from Narayan Sanyal, a senior Maoist leader in Raipur jail to Piyush Guha, a local businessman with allegedly close links to the left-wing extremists. He was supposed to have done this while visiting Sanyal in prison both in his capacity as a human rights activist and as a doctor treating him for various medical ailments.
The fact is that till now the trial of Dr Sen , which began in a Raipur sessions court late April 2008, has not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him. By end November 2008, of the 83 witnesses listed for deposition by the prosecution 16 were dropped by the prosecutors themselves, 6 declared ‘hostile’, while 30 others have deposed without corroborating any of the accusations against Dr Sen.
Dr Sen has never denied meeting Sanyal, which he did with prior permission and in the presence of jail authorities. To prove there was a ‘conspiracy’ the prosecutors for example have to establish that apart from meeting Sanyal in prison, Dr Sen also met Piyush Guha in person some time or the other, in order to pass on the letters. So far not a single prosecution witness has confirmed this charge and without the thread connecting him to Guha however there is no connection at all between Dr Sen and the cases against the other two defendants, Sanyal and Guha.
With the floor falling out of the entire case against Dr Sen, a desperate prosecution, during the course of the trial, has even been caught red handed by defence lawyers, trying to plant forged evidence of his ‘links’ with the Maoists. A number of witnesses too, under obvious tutelage from the police, have been found trying to ‘improve’ their original written statements presented to the court.
Even more distrubingly, in their attempt to keep Dr Sen in prison for as long as possible the court hearings themselves are being dragged on with breaks of up to a month or more at times thus making the trial itself a punishment. Several neutral observers following the case, including from the Commonwealth and the European Union, have expressed concern at the denial of Dr Sen’s right to an open and speedy trial.
Given the paucity of evidence in the trial of Dr Sen so far, in all fairness, the Raipur court should have dismissed the case against him altogether by now. Certainly the weakness of the prosecution’s position should entitle at least granting of bail to Dr Sen, a person of international standing and reputation, with a record of impeccable behaviour throughout his distinguished career. In May 2008, in an unprecedented move 22 Nobel Prize winners had even signed a public statement calling him a ‘professional colleague’ and asking for his release.
Normally bail is refused only in cases where the courts believe the accused can tamper with evidence, prejudice witnesses or run away. In Dr Sen’s case none of these apply as shown by the simple fact that at the time of his arrest last year he chose to come to the Chhattisgarh police voluntarily and made no attempt to abscond despite apprehensions of his possible detainment.
Last year too the same Bilaspur court had rejected a similar bail application after which on 10 December, the Indian Supreme Court in Delhi too had refused to admit a Special Leave Petition to consider bail. The Supreme Court bench initially heard the petition and even asked the Chhattisgarh government to file a reply but very mysteriously dismissed the same petition at its next hearing without any explanation.
The real ‘crime’ for which Dr Sen is being punished for is his courageous work exposing the human rights violations carried out by police forces in Chhattisgarh. As national vice president of the Peoples Union of Civil Liberties, one of India’s oldest human rights groups, Dr Sen produced several reports criticising the Chhattisgarh government’s ‘Salwa Judum’ campaign, which arms vigilante civilian groups to fight the Maoists.
The Salwa Judum campaign, according to many of its critics, is a thinly veiled attempt to relocate villagers – in the name of ‘protecting’ them from Maoists- while in fact plotting the handover of their land to corporations eyeing mineral wealth in the area. By focusing national attention on the brutalities accompanying this campaign Dr Sen obviously seems to have stepped on some powerful and sensitive toes somewhere.
Instead of recognising their social contributions the Indian State, by wrongly branding Dr Sen and many others like him as ‘terrorists’, is making a complete mockery of not just democratic norms and fair governance but its entire anti-terrorist strategy and operations. Detaining innocent people on false charges for political reasons, while turning a blind eye to real terrorists running amok all over the place is surely a recipe for perpetual disaster.
The subversion of the Indian judiciary for such political purposes constitutes an even graver threat to Indian society. The sheer injustice involved in bending principles of law is bound to fuel deep anger against the Indian State and breed cynicism about the credibility and efficacy of Indian democracy itself.
Satya Sagar is a journalist, writer, video maker based in New Delhi, India. He can be contacted at email@example.com
Events of the Third Phase of Dr. Binayak Sen’s Trial & Incidents Preceeding Ajay TG’s Bail
Since Dr. Sen’s trial is disproving the prosecution’s case the police is openly trying to fabricate evidence both inside and outside the court. The police even tried to use Ajay’s TG legitimate release against Dr. Sen, hence the events of both the cases have been written together
The third phase of the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen case began on the 29th of July and lasted till July 31st. The key witnesses, the material witnesses had already deposed in the first two phases of the trial and some were tendered off. The subsequent witnesses were to be mostly seizure witnesses or police and jail personnel. Since most of the 20 witnesses who had deposed in the first two rounds of the trial had in no way confirmed the police case, the prosecution in an act of desperation had filed an application of recalling three of the witnesses who had deposed in the second phase between the 1st of July and the 4th of July. This was slated for argument in the course of these three days.
This was also the period when it became clear that charge sheet was not being filed in the Ajay TG case and that statutory bail was imminent however, we were suddenly filled with the hope that perhaps the case itself would be closed as Ajay had not committed any criminal act and hence there was no evidence to that effect.
29th July. 2008
No hearing happened as a senior member of the bar had passed away. Before we reached the Court, Dr. Binayak Sen, Pijush Guha and Narayan Sanyal had been already taken away to the jail. We were very disappointed that we had missed him.
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