Free Binayak Sen!
Disband Salwa Judum! Repeal Repressive Laws!
PROTEST THE UNJUST DETENTION OF DR. BINAYAK SEN!
May 13th 2008 marks one year of imprisonment for Dr Binayak Sen, pediatrician, public health specialist and national Vice-President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Dr. Sen, an activist with a lifelong commitment to the issues of community health and human rights, was arrested on false charges of sedition, thus joining dozens of other human rights activists in Indian jails, charged under repressive “Black Laws.”
Dr. Sen earned the ire of the government for opposing Salwa Judum, a private militia movement armed by the Government to combat ‘Maoist insurgency’. Salwa Judum led to a spiraling increase in violence, which has displaced over 100,000 tribals.
SPEAK OUT AGAINST SALWA JUDUM! PROTEST THE BLACK LAWS!
Protest harassment of Human Rights Activists!
Association for India’s Development
Friends of South Asia
India Relief and Education Fund
Our Developing World
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
San Jose Peace and Justice Center
Western States Legal Foundation
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, San Jose
MAY 13/14 2008 GLOBAL DAYS OF ACTION
for more information, visit: www.binayaksen.net
Who is Binayak Sen?
Dr Binayak Sen is a paediatrician, public health specialist and national Vice-President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). Dr Sen is noted for extending health care to the poorest people, monitoring the health and nutrition status of the people of Chhattisgarh, and defending the human rights of indigenous tribal and other marginalized communities. On 21 April 2008, the Global Health Council announced that Dr. Binayak Sen had been selected for the highest international honour in Global Health and Human Rights, the Jonathan Mann Award for 2008.
Why is he imprisoned?
Dr. Sen had been providing medical treatment to Narayan Sanyal, a detained Naxalite leader, in the Raipur jail. Even though his meetings with Sanyal were conducted with permission of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, and under close supervision of jail authorities, Dr. Sen was detained and charged with aiding and abetting Narayan Sanyal and supporting anti-national activities. Dr. Sen was detained under provisions of the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2006 (CSPSA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).
Why are UAPA and CSPSA called Black Laws?
The CSPSA, introduced by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, dramatically broadens the ambit of what is deemed ‘unlawful’. It criminalizes all organizations whose actions may have the merest “tendency” to disturb public order, and all individuals who have any type of association with such organizations. The CSPSA also makes it illegal for the press to even report on activities of organizations deemed unlawful. The UAPA, amended in 2004 to include provisions from the dreaded POTA, greatly increases the State’s power to imprison people for extended periods of time without trial and without providing any evidence of guilt. Both these legislations, in the name of combating violent movements, actually target all people’s movements, journalists and human rights activists, and all other formations questioning the State’s policies.
These laws are increasingly being used to silence voices critical of the government. Other activists recently arrested under these draconian laws are Lachit Bordoloi, a human rights activist from Assam; Prashant Rahi, journalist from Uttarakhand; Govindan Kutty, editor of People’s March in Kerala; Praful Jha, a journalist from Chhattisgarh; Vernon Gonsalves, an activist from Nasik; Arun Ferreira, Ashok Reddy, and Dhanendra Bhurule, and most recently Ajay TG, another activist with PUCL, Chhattisgarh.
Why is the government fabricating charges against Binayak Sen?
Binayak Sen earned the government’s ire by being a fierce critic of the high-handed and illegal ways that the government is using to put down a Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh. Dr. Sen participated in many investigations which drew attention to severe human rights violations, including murder of unarmed and demonstrably innocent civilians, by the police and the “Salwa Judum” – a government backed vigilante group active in Southern Chhattisgarh.
For instance, Dr. Sen and PUCL’s investigations had exposed that 12 alleged Maoists killed by the police in Santoshpur village in a suppopsed gunfight on 31st March, 2007, were actually tribals executed at close range. The State Human Rights Commission took note of this investigation, and ordered the bodies of the victims exhumed. A few days later, Dr. Sen was detained and remains in prison.
What is Salwa Judum?
Salwa Judum is a vigilante movement in Southern Chhattisgarh, that has been armed and supported by the Government of Chhattisgarh and the Home Ministry since June 2005, in order to combat the Maoist insurgeny.
The policy of arming a civilian militia has escalated the level of violence and a civil war like situation has emerged with innocent citizens caught between the Naxalites and the Salwa Judum. Over 100,000 people have been displaced, hundreds of villages abandoned and people forcibly picked up from their villages, have been confined into roadside ‘relief camps’, where they face acute shortage of food, water and other basic amenities. These parts of Chhattisgarh are also the most mineral rich parts of the country and it is believed that several corporate houses are in talks with the government to acquire these lands.
Salwa Judum Vigilantes
Dr. Sen had been a vocal opponent of the Government’s policy of arming Salwa Judum and had organized fact-finding teams to visit the area and bring the conditions to light. Recenlty, the Supreme Court of India also issued a strong disapproval of the State backing of Salwa Judum.
What can I do to help?
* Educate yourself about the issue. Check out www.FreeBinayakSen.org, www.PUCL.org
* Sign a petition to release Binayak Sen http://www.petitiononline.com/Binayak/petition.html
* Ask your organizations to endorse an International Appeal of Solidarity with Binayak Sen http://www.aidboston.org/FreeBinayakSen/appeal.htm
* Organize or participate in a vigil to speak out on these issues. Check http://www.aidboston.org/FreeBinayakSen/actions.htm to see if an event is being organized in your city on May 13/14. If you can help in organizing an event, write to [email protected]
* Write articles about the issue in local newspapers, try to raise the issue in local media.Share It:
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