New York: Protest in front of Indian consulate

Dear folks,

As you might know, Dr. Binayak Sen (human rights activist, PUCL secretrary, physician to the poor) was arrested last year under a repressive “special act” and has been imprisoned without trial or bail. Noam Chomsky, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Arundhati Roy, Prabhat Patnaik, Ashok Mitra, Habib Tanvir, Rajendra Yadav and many other intellectuals, writers, poets, and activists, have issued statements demanding his release and expressing dismay at his arrest which “is clearly an attempt to intimidate PUCL and other democratic voices that have been speaking out against human rights violations in [Chattisgarh]“.

Protests are being organized across the world on May 13th, which marks the completion of one year of this undemocratic imprisonment.

Please join us at the NYC action at 12:30pm in front of the Indian Consulate. If you can’t make it for the whole duration of the protest, please try to be there between 1pm and 1:30pm at least (if you can). The idea is to put pressure on the government of India to ensure that Dr. Sen and the other political prisoners get a fair trial. See below for more information. A flier is also attached. Hope to see many of you there. And, please pass the word along.

DATE: MAY 13th, 2008
PLACE: Indian Consulate, 3 East 64th Street

(Between 5th and Madison Avenues)
Subway: N/R/W to 5th Avenue-59th Street, or F to Lexington
Avenue-63rd Street
For more info, contact: Ashwini: [email protected] or Murli:
[email protected]

On May 13th, 2008 Dr. Binayak Sen, an activist with a lifelong commitment to the issues of community health and human rights, will complete one year of unjust imprisonment at the Raipur Central jail in Chhattisgarh.

Dr. Sen has devoted his life to providing healthcare to some of the most marginalized sections of society. Setting up the unique Shaheed Hospital, the community-driven work of Rupantar and through his involvement with Jan Swasthya Abhiyan – the Indian circle of the People’s Health Movement, Dr. Sen has made healthcare available to people who have been ignored by government or private health systems.

This year, Dr. Sen has been awarded the Jonathan Mann award for public health and human rights.

As the State Secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) of Chhattisgarh and the national Vice President, Dr. Sen has uncovered human rights violations by the state and other armed groups. He has highlighted starvation deaths, dysentery epidemics, poor conditions ofunder-trial prisoners, custodial deaths and extra judicial killings. Dr. Sen has also worked on the issues of right to food, work, health and education. He has been amongst the most vocal opponents of Salwa Judum, a private militia widely thought to be a government anti-insurgency effort to combat Maoists – that has contributed to a spiraling increase in violence and displaced thousands of indigenous people in the area. Even the Supreme Court of India has issued a strong disapproval of the Salwa Judum, citing concerns similar to those raised by Dr. Sen.

On May 14, 2007 Dr. Sen was arrested in Raipur under the repressive Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2004 (UAPA) on charges of sedition, conspiracy to wage war against the state and conspiracy to commit other offences. The continuing detention of an activist committed to non-violence and social justice is a mockery of justice itself. His trial began on April 30th, 2008 after a year of imprisonment without trial or bail including a cruel spell of solitary confinement.

In another instance of state repression on May 5, 2008, the Chhattisgarh police arrested Ajay TG under the CSPSA who is also a PUCL human rights activist, an independent film-maker and the director of a school for slum children.

Dr. Sen and Ajay are victims to an increasing trend of arresting human rights activists in India for challenging state impunity. Lachit Bordoloi, a human rights activist from Assam; Prashant Rahi, a journalist from Uttarakhand; Govindan Kutty, a journalist from Kerala; Praful Jha, a journalist from Chhattisgarh; Vernon Gonsalves, an activist from Nasik; Arun Ferreira, Ashok Reddy, Dhanendra Bhurule, Naresh Bansode, activists from Vidarbha have all been charged under the UAPA and kept under prolonged detention without bail.

Join us on May 13 at 12:30 pm outside the Indian Consulate to:

  • Protest the unjust arrests of human rights activists

  • Demand an end to undemocratic and repressive legislations such as the CSPSA and UAPA

  • Oppose the use of private militias to repress people’s movements

  • Express solidarity with political prisoners in India and elsewhere in the world.

Simultaneous protests are being organized at Indian consulates and embassies across the world. Please join the NYC action at:INDIAN CONSULATE 3 East 64th Street (Between 5th and Madison Avenues),
New York, NY 10065

Subway: N/R/W to 5th Avenue-59th Street, or F to Lexington
Avenue-63rd Street

For more information, contact:or details contact:
Ashwini: [email protected] Or Murli: [email protected]

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