Binayak Sen - Gandhi of Our Era

Jan 12, 2011

A person who fights for Human Rights and questions the government policy will be sentenced to life imprisonment. This is what the law says.

According to Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), "Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine."

Same was the law (of sedition) that was used to convict Mahatma Gandhi during the British rule. After Independence, India had no other alternative to the British Constitution and happily, we inherited the British system.

Mahatma Gandhi of the present Era, I must say, Dr Binayak Sen, a doctor by profession is a noted human rights activist who has dedicated his life for a cause. He worked for the tribal people of Chhattisgarh who are devoid of the basic amenities. On December 24, 2010, the Session court of Raipur found him guilty of sedition and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

His only crime is that he raised his voice against the ‘Salwa Judum’, a private force armed by the Chhattisgarh government to take on the Tribals and Maoists, forcing them to leave their land to the big-shot mining companies. Salwa Judum has committed many crimes, the list of which is endless; burnt houses, looted tribal’s property, raped women and killed people. Though government admits all of these crimes, not a single case has been registered against Salwa Judum, only because it is backed by the state government.

Dr Sen fought for people who have been exploited over years, who are deprived of education, healthcare and resources needed to ensure their sustainability. What they want is not ‘development’ but protection of their ‘land’ and basic amenities.

In spite of Dr Sen statements that he neither condones the Naxalites nor approves of their violent method, speaking strongly against them several times, he gets falsely accused of sedition and conspiracy.

The evidence that was presented against Dr Sen is:

• A postcard dated June 3, 2006 written to Dr Sen by Narayan Sanyal (while lodged at the Raipur Central jail), regarding his health as well as legal case, which is duly signed by the jail authorities carrying the seal of the jail authorities.

• A booklet "On the Unity between CPI (Peoples' War) and Maoist Communist Centre" in Hindi.

• A letter written by Madanlal Banjare (a member of the CPI-Maoist) from jail addressed "Priya Comrade Binayak Sen."

• A photocopy of an article in English titled "Naxal Movement, Tribals and Women's Movement."

• A hand-written photocopied note "How to build an Anti-US Imperialist Front."

• Eight-page article titled "Krantikari Janwadi Morcha (Revolutionary People's Front) Vaishavikaran Awam Bahrtiye Seva Kshetra (Globalization and the Service Sector in India)

What is the reason of Dr Sen’s life-time imprisonment? Is it because, he visited Narayan Sanyal in jail 33 times? Is talking to a prisoner with prior police permission a crime? The postcard written by Sanyal to Dr Sen was duly signed by the jail authorities. Sanyal was being treated by Dr Sen for fibromatosis. Is treating a prisoner a crime? Moreover, Sanyal was not jailed as a Naxalite, rather, he was accused of murder. Most importantly, all the meets of Dr Sen with Sanyal was under strict supervision of jail authorities. All that they talked was about Sanyal’s health and his case. When they never met alone, how is Dr Sen accused of conspiracy?

Refuting to follow his party’s line in Chhattisgarh, Ram Jethmalani, eminent lawyer and BJP member says that "it is a case of low evidence".
The hard-to-believe reality is that the Chhattisgarh government has signed hundreds of MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) with many mining companies and other MNCs. It is public that there have been many visits of American ambassadors to Raipur and other cities of Chhattisgarh in the recent times. All of this suggests that Dr Sen’s arrest is nothing but a Capitalist agenda in the disguise of ‘development’. As Arundathi Roy suggests, it isn’t Maoist corridor, rather, it must be called a ‘MOUist corridor’.

In this regard, India is no different to China. India and China may have differences in their systems of governance. But, they definitely don't differ in turning down the Voices raised against the government. When the human rights activist of China, Liu Xiaobo called for the end of Communist one-party rule in China, he was incarcerated as a political prisoner. Walking into the foot-steps of China, Indian government too, ridiculed the "Right to Freedom of speech" by convicting Dr Binayak Sen of being a conduit between the Naxalites. His is one such case of excesses on basic human rights of the citizens of India. NHRC receives thousands of such cases every year – is anyone to heed?

It’s high time that we analyze our shortcomings, raise our voices for this cause and let the world hear it! Cry out!

by Muhammad Arifuddin Ilyas
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Comment on this article

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/South Korea

    Thu, Jan 20 2011

    It's funny...Dr.Sen under detention and Maoists/communism is a different subject Mr. Aditya? Well, wasn't he treating the Maoists? Isn't he behind the bars for that? I don't think he would have been behind the bars for just passing on some paracetamol tablets for sure. This whole episode is really an unnecessary distraction while Maoists are regrouping.

  • Dr Gerald Pinto, kallianpur

    Mon, Jan 17 2011

    it is failure of indian Judiacial system and false FIR of Police Dept. police and judicially works under pressure because judicial and police officials want promotion and some even deliver because of money.
    Only Almighty can save INDIA. If Mahatma Gandhi was to be alive he might have to face the criminal cases like that of Arundhati Roy and Binayak sane.
    Dr Gerald Pinto

  • R Mallar, Kasragod/ Dubai

    Sat, Jan 15 2011

    A court of law has found that Mr. Sen is guilty of some thing. He has every right to fight it out in Supreme court. So it does not matter which party is in power as judiciary is an independent entity. Now if we start doubting the judiciary iteself, then there is a serious problem for India. Yes, our kind of democracy has failed on several counts, but anarchy propagated by naxalism is definitely not an answer. It won't be much different than armed revolt against governments happening in some of the African countries. Did some one said India is becoming banana republic?

  • Aditya, New Delhi

    Fri, Jan 14 2011

    Neither the writer nor the readers are in support of Maoists. What the writer highlights is the injustice done to Dr.Sen in the name of Sedition and tribals in the name of development. Maoism/ Communism is a different subject of talk.

  • K. S. Mayya, Mangalore/South Korea

    Thu, Jan 13 2011

    It is clear that our fellow readers who have taken pain to write few lines have no inkling on the effects of Maoists. Maoists, stated agenda is to bring communism to India. We have communist parties ruling in West Bengal and Kerala and the results are there for all to see. Maoists challenge the authority of the state called Government of India and they run a parallel government in the areas controlled by them, just like LTTE did in the areas it controlled. Many (not in tens but hundreds) security personnel have been mauled by these Maoists. They are not some disgruntled people, they are well organized people with a mission of disintegrating India. Their tactic has been to sit across the table with the government for talks when their chips are down and then arbitrarily walk out of the talks and stage attacks when they have regrouped. Their strategies are taken out of the age old "Arts of War" written by a Chinese General. So, people, please understand the gravity of the situation before you support Dr.Sen. Dr.Sen treated the very people who are after killing our security personnel. They have carefully avoided attack on civilians (revenge killings excluded) but with a purpose. They want to rule those very civilians who they have spared. The people Dr.Sen treated train their guns on our security personnel once they are well enough to sport a gun. And try preaching your philosophies to the Maoists and disarm them..and let see how well goes.

  • Stany D'sa, Balehonnur/Dubai

    Thu, Jan 13 2011

    Naxalism is created by our own political Ruling and Nepotism. Politicians have become the vulgar activists. The rule of the day is to buy political power by any means and deprive the rights of the just and poor. Even Judiciary syestem is condemned by money power. Multy party political syestem will never bring peace to India.Even today the Minorities and Dalits are not protected by the State or Central Government. Ultimately the time has come for the Civil Society to act voluntarily and get relief from all the diabolic political bondages. Because of civil unrest more and more New political Parties will emerge and thus claim the share in National level administration. Democracy anything is possible and even worst come to worst divide and Rule. Will India remain united, if the Political Scams continue as it is happening with Congress and BJP? We definitely need a strong transparent Third Front to Govern India. Jai Ho India.

  • clifford, urwa

    Wed, Jan 12 2011

    Am surprised how can a Maoist sympathiser and helper be called innocent? a postcard is not a crime but acting as a postcard (messenger) is certainly a crime. there is no doubt that he used to help maoist with information and logistical support. I condemn the excess committed by the state but it does not mean one can sypathise with maoist who blow up schools and drive an agenda to terrorise and divide the state. it is sedition and he deserves to be uted. take the example of punjab....KPS Gill admitted human rights were violated but that was the only way militancy could be wiped out of punjab. do these terrorists including maoist think about human rights? what about the brutal killing of inspector lukas tete and scores of school children? isnt it human rights violation? so people wake up n open ur eyes.

  • Lingapp rao, udupi

    Wed, Jan 12 2011

    The Sangh Parivaar people killed Gandhigi.Now, in the name of anti-naxalism they are targetting innocent people like Binayak sen.The Chattisgarh govt. is controlled by these anti-human elements.

  • Mathew Singh, Beliz/Cental America

    Wed, Jan 12 2011

    People of India in a mass communication should write to Noble commitee in Oslo to consider Mr.Binayak Sen for next year noble prize and it will open the currupt leaders & businesses of India

  • fazil, DXB

    Wed, Jan 12 2011

    Salute to you sir, Binayek Sen, Thanks to Eliyas bai.

  • Saleem Javed, Malpe

    Wed, Jan 12 2011

    Every criminal case is unique but there is something truly peculiar about the fate of Dr. Binayak Sen. While politicians, film stars, gangsters and businessmen accused or convicted of heinous offences like manslaughter, rioting and possession of firearms and illegal lands seem to have no trouble getting bail, the gentle doctor is considered such a dangerous criminal that he has been held in jail for two years on a far less serious charge which is something pathetic.I feel Centre should Interfere and release Dr.Binayak Sen immediatly without any further Delay and provide him compensation.

  • Savitri, India

    Tue, Jan 11 2011

    People like Binayak Sen are true Hindus who are uplifting poor and triabals and not the vhp,rss,bd,bjp which is giving only bhasanas. Why these politicians are not trying to free Mr. Binayak Sen, who is fighting for poor Hindu rights and trying to uplift them.

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