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Binayak Sen found guilty of sedition

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HT reports:

The Raipur sessions court on Friday found Dr Binayak Sen and three others guilty. Dr Sen was charged with treason and waging war against India. Sen has been found guilty of helping the Maoists. Security was stepped up in and around the district and sessions court verdict on Sen was given.

Sen was picked up in May 2007 from Bilaspur town under the stringent Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act for alleged links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal. He was released in May 2009 on the order of the Supreme Court.

The prosecution claimed that Sen was very much involved in establishing an urban network for the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist). The defence denied the charges.

Human rights activists in India and abroad, as well as, doctors from the US and other countries urged the Indian government to free him, calling his detention unjust and violative of human rights.

The backstory from WSJ, a paper which is not usually sympathetic to Maoists:

The government accused Dr. Sen of aiding the insurgents by passing notes from a Maoist prisoner he was treating to someone outside the jail. He was released on bail in May 2009.

He denied passing notes or committing any crime, and says his activities in the jail were constantly supervised by prison authorities.

“There is no explanation as to why I was put in prison,” Dr. Sen told The Wall Street Journal in an interview after his release. “I will continue with my role as a doctor and human-rights activist.”

Of his alleged support for the Maoists, Dr. Sen said he didn’t support violence from either the state or the Maoists but that the grievances that Maoists were tapping into for support among the populace were “real.”

Dr. Sen says it was his criticism of killings of civilians by a vigilante group that prompted his arrest and prosecution. The group, Salwa Judum, was created in 2005 and is designed and supported by the state government in Chhattisgarh to nip the insurgency where it’s thriving: villages inhabited by India’s indigenous tribes.

Dr. Sen says the main motive of the group, though, is to clear villages so the land can be quarried for iron ore, bauxite and diamonds. Chhattisgarh is one of the most mineral-rich Indian states.

In 2008, when Dr. Sen was still in jail, the U.S.-based Global Health Council awarded Dr. Sen its 2008 Jonathan Mann Award for global health and human rights in recognition of his services to poor and indigenous communities in India. In May that year, a group of 22 Nobel laureates sent a letter to the Indian government criticizing Dr. Sen’s incarceration and asking that he be released to receive the award in person.

“We also wish to express grave concern that Dr. Sen appears to be incarcerated solely for peacefully exercising his fundamental human rights…and that he is charged under two internal security laws that do not comport with international human rights standards,” they said in the letter.

After coming to Chhattisgarh in 1981, Dr. Sen has focused on helping tribal Indians, among India’s most disadvantaged. In 2004, he became the national vice president of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, a civil-rights group.

Feb 10, 2011

Sen’s appeal for bail was rejected by the Chhatisgarh high court. IE reports:

The Chhattisgarh High Court on Thursday rejected human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen’s plea for bail.

Sen’s lawyers will now move the Supreme Court to secure his bail.

The High Court had on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail plea even as the state government opposed it on grounds of his links with Maoists.

Sen is at present lodged in a jail in Raipur after he was sentenced to life term by a trial court in Raipur on December 24 for sedition, criminal conspiracy and collusion with Maoists, particularly with ideologue Narayan Sanyal.

Sen was first jailed in May 2007 on charges of acting as a courier for jailed Maoist Sanyal. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court on May 25, 2009.

Rights activists, NGOs and supporters across the world have begun a ‘free Binayak Sen campaign’, mounting pressure on the state and central governments to free the jailed activist. They describe Sen as “a distinguished paediatrician and tireless human rights activist, being held under draconian state laws”.

This does seem a little odd, since the doctor is not accused of being a militant.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

December 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

One Response

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  1. […] a comment » The back story of Dr. Binayak Sen and his run-in with the state government of Chhattisgarh is long. Now Sen’s appeal for bail […]

    No bail for Sen « Karela Fry

    February 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

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