Pressure mounts against detention of Binayak Sen in Chattisgarh

Pressure mounts against detention of Binayak Sen in Chattisgarh


Pressure has been mounting against the detention of Dr Binayak Sen in Chattisgarh with swelling number of people demanding unconditional and immediate release of Sen. Petitions addressed to the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Chattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, and others are swelling with numbers of people signing up from not only India but from expatriate community globally.

Association for India’s Development activists expressed their grave disappointment at the rejection of Dr Sen’s bail by the Supreme Court of India. Dr Sen was arrested on 14 May 2007 under the draconian law - Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) 2006, which gives the state sweeping powers to act against those allegedly in contact with a naxalite leader in jail. Dr Sen maintains that these meetings occurred with due written permission of the state.

“More than 7 months since his arrest on vague and unsubstantiated charges under a draconian law, the State of Chhattisgarh is yet to produce any evidence against Dr Sen and continues to drag its feet at every opportunity” said AID activists.

Even as the State holds Dr Sen with no credible case or evidence against him, the actual naxalite problem has only worsened over the past months. The recent escalation of violence and rise in death toll as well as the security breach in Dantewada prison are just few dark indicators.

Dr Binayak Sen, who studied medicine at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, is the General Secretary of the state’s People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and a paediatrician and public health/social activist of repute. He has been working in Chhattisgarh on health, social and human rights issues for over 25 years. He is responsible for stellar contributions to the cause of healthcare for all in Chhattisgarh including setting up the Shaheed Hospital for Mine Workers in Dalli Rajahara and the establishment of the Mitaneen program, a pioneering model putting the Village Health Worker at the forefront of rural healthcare.

Dr Sen during his PUCL work brought to light the human rights situation in Bastar and Dantewada districts of the state, where a civil war like situation has been prevailing, even as the state propped up by providing money and arms, an organization called the Salwa Judum to supposedly counter the attendant naxalism.

Growing list of people from India and abroad are petitioning for:

- Dr Sen be immediately released and all cases against him be dropped

- Chhattisgarh Government takes immediate steps to restore peace and end the violence by the naxalites as well as the Salwa Judum

- State government ends its support to the Salwa Judum immediately

- State government looks after the interests of all citizens of Chhattisgarh including understanding the underlying reasons why the naxalite movement is gaining strength

"Dr Binayak Sen should be immediately released unconditionally by the state" said noted social activist and Magsaysay Awardee (2002) Dr Sandeep Pandey, who leads National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM). "Binayak Sen has made commendable contribution in responding to healthcare needs of the most underserved communities over decades now, and has brought hope and empowerment to tribal communities of Chattisgarh by strengthening people's voices to safeguard their rights and civil liberties" remarked Dr Pandey.

The state had earlier failed to save the life of a dedicated frontline activist Shankar Guha Niyogi years ago. People around the world are outraged by the continued detention of Dr Sen since more than 7 months now. It also puts a question mark on our democracy where voices of pro-poor activists are stifled by the state in one of the most outrageous manner. Hope the vanguards of justice are listening.

To sign the petition click here


Published in:

Central Chronicle, Madhya Pradesh, India (1 January 2008)
Assam Times, Assam, India (2 January 2008)

Asian Tribune, Bangkok, Thailand (2 January 2008)

Journalist reporting on under-represented communities arrested

Journalist reporting on under-represented communities arrested

Prashant Rahi, a senior Journalist of Uttarakhand, with over 17 years of service to his `credit, has been reporting on under-represented communities and pro-people’s movements in the state, was slapped with serious charges of Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Sections 121, 121A, 124A, 153B and 120B.

Prashant began his journalist career with The Himachal Times and then later moved to The Statesman. He hails from Maharashtra and studied at Banaras Hindu University.

Earlier he was arrested on 15 December 2007 in the state capital Dehradun, and remained in ‘secret confinement’ by police for five days. Later on 21 December 2007, police officially booked him as a ‘maoist commander’ and showed him arrested from the forests of Hanspur Khatta.

Earlier too police administration has slapped serious charges against journalists reporting voices of under-represented communities in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Another example of police suppressing local pro-people voices is of Dr Binayak Sen. There was an international furore from Indian expatriate community and also within India against the unlawful imprisonment by the state since 14 May 2007 of Dr Sen. Dr Sen is the General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh’s People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and also the Vice-President of the National PUCL. Dr Sen has been a tireless crusader working towards an alternative health system responsive to the needs of the poor. He is a committed people's rights activist, and has been struggling to protect the rights and liberties of tribal people in Chattisgarh. His arrest by the state on 14 May 2007 had left countless activists and communities stunned.

"Prashant Sen should be immediately released unconditionally by the state" said noted social activist and Magsaysay Awardee (2002) Dr Sandeep Pandey, who is a national convener of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM). "Prashant Sen has made commendable contribution in documenting the voices of the most under-represented communities in the past 17 years now, and has brought hope and empowerment to these communities by strengthening their voices to safeguard their rights and civil liberties" remarked Dr Pandey.

Another Delhi-based activist Rajeshwar Ojha believes that “Prashant’s arrest is a part of the efforts of various state governments to secure hefty amount of funds from the central government in the name of combating naxalism. For this, it becomes imperative for them to prove that the state is inflicted with this insurgency.”

On Thursday, 27 December 2007, a large demonstration was held in front of Mandi House, New Delhi, demanding immediate and unconditional release of Prashant Sen.

Repeated arrests of those supporting voices of most under-served communities, also puts a question mark on our democracy where such voices of pro-poor activists are stifled by the state in one of the most outrageous manner. Hope the vanguards of justice are listening.


Published in:

Asian Tribune, Bangkok, Thailand: 29 December 2007

The Seoul Times, Seoul, South Korea: 1 January 2008

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Let us not be overawed by Modi's victory

सबसे खतरनाक वह चांद होता है

जो हर हत्याकांड के बाद
वीरान हुए आंगनों में चढ़ता है

पर आपकी आंखों में मिर्चों कि तरह नहीं गढ़ता

पाश


'In a democracy an electoral defeat is always a sobering moment, but it would be doubly counter-productive for the Congress and the other secular forces to feel overawed by Narendra Modi's victory.

…the Sunday win does not necessarily endow any kind of ideological legitimacy to Mr. Modi's voice nor does it provide a licence to communal forces or even political respectability to his message outside of Gujarat.'

Harish Khare, The Hindu December 24, 2007

Dear Friends,

Pasting below a break up of votes from 33 Gujarat constituencies.

While the whole media except a handful of journalists is under the spell of Modi's magic it is important to register the fact that e.g. In Gandhinagar though 81864 people voted for BJP and they won the seat, there are 78116 people who voted against BJP and Modi.

Not everyone is under his spell in Gujarat. He has won the seats and will have the whole administration in his hand to stifle any dissent but the struggle against the undemocratic, fascist regime will continue.

सबसे खतरनाक वह चांद होता है

जो हर हत्याकांड के बाद
वीरान हुए आंगनों में चढ़ता है

पर आपकी आंखों में मिर्चों कि तरह नहीं गढ़ता

पाश

Shabnam Hashmi

December 24, 2007

New Delhi


CONSTITUENCY

BJP VOTE

CONGRESS VOTE

DIFFERENCE

BSP

IND

1

RAJPIPLA

37722

37091

631

2807


2

MANDAL

34843

34166

677


3818

3

KHAMBHALIA

40358

39560

798


4275

4

KANKREJ

37930

37090

840

28934


5

JAMNAGAR

33021

31941

1080


1098

6

KADI

65835

64508

1327


3848

7

GADHADA

50579

49152

1427

1478


8

SURAT CITY

39607

37908

1699


RJD-2584

9

ANAND

63745

61975

1770


12134

10

KALOL

27565

25255

1884


1427+1016

11

CHIKHLI

59471

57204

2267

2708


12

SIDHPUR

52610

50181

2429


2694

13

MANGROL

48256

45625

2631

3389

2782

14

BOTAD

69662

66474

3188

2134

3188

15

VIRAMGAM

47643

44327

3316

3286

3364

16

MANSA

44381

41011

3370


10478

17

GANDHINAGAR

81864

78116

3748

1766

5128

18

RAKHIAL

53993

50048

3945

1395

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