More than two hundred and fifty people courted arrest in Jaipur on Martyrs day, the 30th of January, demanding the release of Dr. Binayak Sen, scrapping the law on sedition and asserting the right to dissent. Shouting slogans “Hum Sab Binayak Sen, Hum Sab Jail Jayenge, Agar Sach Kahna Rajdroh Hai Toh Samjho Hum Bhi Rajdrohi Hain”, the arrests were led by eminent activist Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Dr. Pawan Surana, EX-Chairperson of the State Women’s Commission, Gandhian Sawai Singh, Dalit leader Tek Chand Rahul, Farmers leader from Ganganagar Mani Ram Punia, Doctors – Alka Rao, Narendra Gupta, Mita Singh, Prem Krishan Sharma, PUCL, President among the hundreds of women’s groups rep, trade unionist, students, workers, Gandhians etc who were present. The rally followed the public meeting held at Gandhi Circle today. A memorandum demanding Dr. Sen’s release and scrapping of the sedition law was handed over to the ADM Ram Avatar Meena,
The programme began with a two minute silence and writer P.C Gandhi read out the statement of Mahatma Gandhi made before the judge on March 23rd 1922 on sedition, an excerpt is given here “Section 124-A, under which I am happily charged, is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizens. Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law. If one has disaffection for a person or system, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, so long as he does not contemplate, promote or incite to violence“. This began the debate on scrapping sedition.
Speaking on the occasion Magsaysay winner Aruna Roy said that Dr. Binayak Sen’s imprisonment reminded one of the fascist ways of the Nazis where all dissent was denied and people started living in fear. Quoting from Pastor Nimoler she said that if we do not reject this illegal judgement in the Binayak Sen case and stand up for him then we will only strengthen the Indian State which increasingly was silencing all criticism.
Former Judge of the Rajasthan High Court Justice Panna Chand Jain spoke at length on how sedition had no place in the Indian democratic system if Article 19 of the Indian constitution had to be survive and like the present day British Constitution it should be scrapped. Senior Counsel of the Supreme Court SR Bajwa analysed the judgement in the Binayak Sen case and showed how there was no evidence to convict Binayak Sen. He hoped that Higher judiciary would correct the wrong meted out to Dr Sen by the Raipur Sessions court.
Former SEBI Chief and President of the Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayta Samiti Sh. D. R Mehta informed the gathering that to help bring Peace in the land mine ridden and violence affected Dantewada, he had written to all parties to the conflict including the Central and State Governments and local Tribal leadership that he would like to hold camps in the region to provide the maimed victims of this ongoing conflict with the Jaipur foot and calipers. He was vociferous in his condemnation of the imprisonment Binayak Sen and also demanded his release.
Prem Krishan Sharma concluded the meeting by stating that we had to determinedly fight for Binayak release and all the thousands of Binayak’s who are in prison in the name of Maoism and Terrorism in the various States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Gujarat, AP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan. The meeting was conducted by Sawai Singh, President of the Rajasthan Samgra Sewa Sangh.
We are, Prem Krishna Shrama (People’s Union for Civil liberties, Rajasthan), Dr. Narendra Gupta & Chhaya (Prayas and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan), Hitendra Upadhyay (Sambhav), Prof Salim (Jamait Islami Hind), P.L Mimroth (Centre for Dalit Rights), Sawai Singh (Samgra Sewa Kendra), Prem Ranjan (Action-Aid), Nishat Hussein (National Muslim Welfare Society), Nisha Sidhu (NFIW), Mewa Bharti (Rajasthan Gheralu Kamgaar Union), Kailash Chand Kumbhakar (Academy for Social Sciences), Komal Srivastava (Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti), Rashid (Human Development Society), Prof Hasan (IRADA), Shiv Singh (Allaripu), Rajaram Bhadu (Samantar), Vijay Goyal (SIRD), Chaju Ram Jat (Rozi Roti Adhikar Samuh, Phagi), Minakshi (Pravah).
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