On Saturday 8th January, more than 25 activists of various organizations, under the banner of Aman Insaaf Manch, demonstrated in Thane denouncing the jail sentence meted out to Dr. Binayak Sen, as well as attacks by the Central government and various state governments on activists fighting for people’s rights.
Activists of Lok Raj Sangathan participated enthusiastically in the demonstration. More than 3000 leaflets were distributed amongst the people of Thane. The leaflet as well as the placard carrying demonstrators also called upon the people to fight for annulment of all fascist black laws like the AFSPA, MACOCA, Chhatisgarh Special Public Security Act, etc.
They also denounced the regular promulgation of section 144, which prohibits gathering of more than 5 people. As a result, police deny permission for even Trade Union demonstrations, demonstrations against price rise and so on. The leaflet also denounced attacks on people from various parts of Maharashtra who are fighting against SEZ’s and against the proposed Nuclear Power Plant in Jaitapur, etc.
Leaflet distributed in the demo (Published by the “Aman Insaaf Manch”):
Let us uphold Democratic Rights!
Let us seek immediate release of Dr. Sen from jail!
On December 24, 2010 Dr. Binayak Sen was convicted by a Raipur Sessions Court on charges of "sedition" and "waging war against the Indian state" and sentenced to life imprisonment.
It may be recalled that Dr. Binayak Sen, a renowned doctor and human rights activist, who had been working among the tribals in Chhattisgarh, had earlier been arrested on May 14, 2007 on the flimsy and trumped up charge of ‘acting as a courier for a jailed Maoist’. Following two years of continuous popular protests in India and all over the world and numerous petitions to the Central and State governments, the Supreme Court granted bail to Dr. Binayak Sen, on May 25, 2009.
The evidence against Dr. Sen centres on a single event. He is accused of having met a jailed Naxalite, Narayan Sanyal, 33 times and carried letters from him to a Naxalite, Piyush Guha. But Dr. Sen met Sanyal in Raipur Central Jail with the permission of the Chhattisgarh police. As per reports as many as five jail superintendents who supervised the meetings told the Raipur sessions court that no letters were exchanged ! One more so called “conclusive” evidence is One ( ! ) unsigned letter from CPI ( Maoist) allegedly found at his residence, which police “forgot” to mention in the official seizure memo ! How convenient! Other major fallacy in the police reporting about the place of Dr. Sen’s arrest, which was different in the evidence submitted by police to Supreme Court than the one presented in front of Raipur Sessions Court, which was accepted by Court as a “typographical error” . How generous!
All these examples are pointers to travesty of justice and has justifiably angered democratic minded people all across the country. His conviction has been roundly condemned by human rights activists, political and social activists, intellectuals, workers and all freedom loving people, who have come out in hundreds, in Delhi, Raipur and other parts of the country to voice their protest, to demand justice and repeal of various fascist laws.
The second concern expressed by people is the fairness of the laws used against Dr. Sen. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (Sedition) is a colonial-era law that has been previously invoked against Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Since it is a serious offence with the possibility of life in jail, in the 1962 case of Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar the Supreme Court limited the definition of sedition to the “tendency to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence.” Dr. Sen is convicted for acting as a letter courier between Naxalites; and hence as per Supreme Court’s clarification this, even if true can not be classified as “sedition”. This is especially important when one considers the fact that Dr. Sen has many times spoken publicly against acts of individual violence.
Dr. Sen, unlike most others chose to serve poor adivasis of Chattisgarh region as a Doctor. He helped establish co-operative hospital of iron ore miners in Chattisgarh. His experiences of that period moved his perceptions from community health and public health to health as a Human right. He also started participating actively as General Secretary of Chattisgarh Branch of People’s Union Of Civil Liberties, in various struggles of Adivasis for their basic right to livelihood. He also openly opposed the violence of Government sponsored Salwa Judum.
For his work as a Doctor he was conferred various National & International awards & in fact was also a member of a State Government committee on Public health.
It is clear than day light that Dr. Sen is being targeted for his bold fight against onslaught of big mining companies on local tribals.
All across the country, thousands of people who fight against injustice, are being attacked by State and Central governments. Fascist laws like AFSPA, Anti terrorist Act, MCOCA, Chattisgarh Special Public Safety Act, UAPA etc. are used against them. Their persecution is justified by branding them as ‘terrorists’, ‘secessionist’, ‘ anti-national’, ‘Naxalites’ etc. while at the same time known criminals , thugs , rapists , and murderers go scot free . Whoever takes cudgels on behalf of the poor stands to be branded like this. In last one year we have experienced this in Maharashtra also. Those who are opposing forcible land acquisition for SEZ’s in Raigad and elsewhere, opposing projects like Jaitapur, are also being branded and attacked. Recently one youth was brutally killed in Jaitapur. Section 144 , which prohibits gathering of more than 5 people has become almost a permanent law for years in Mumbai , Navi Mumbai and elsewhere and is used by local police to prevent even Trade Union meetings and demonstrations against price rise.
Recent persecution of Dr. Sen , is thus a part of concerted attempt of Governments to deny basic Human Rights and Right to conscience to those who fight for justice. On 24th Dec. it was Dr. Sen. Tomorrow it can be any of us.
It has become necessary for all justice loving people, to uphold Right to conscience and hence to denounce any attempt by anybody, Government or any other body, to suppress dissent. We all need to stand shoulder by shoulder and actively demand repulsion of all the fascist laws which seek to limit basic Human rights under any justification and demand the immediate release of Dr. Sen.