The first batch of 59 protestors took part in the satyagraha for the release of jailed human rights and health activist Dr Binayak Sen, in Raipur on 16 march 2009. 44 people from 7 states have courted arrest, while 15 other have extended solidarity in support of the protestors. Dr Binayak Sen, who has been in imprisoned for the past 22 months by the Chhattisgarh government on false charges of ‘abetting activities of an outlawed Maoist organisation and also denied bail.
The courting of arrest occurred after the satyagrahis were detained at Subhash Stadium by the Chhattisgarh authorities, following peaceful non-violent protest. They were all later released.
The satyagrahis who courted arrest were: Sandeep Pandey and other activists from Asha Parivar, Anand Patwardhan (film maker), D. Thankappan, Ashim Roy, Mohan Kothekar (New Trade Union Initiative), Rajendra Sail (PUCL), Gautam Bandhopadhyay (Nadi Ghati Morcha), Sunil, Rakesh, Suresh, Bhagirathi, and Haldar (from Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha).
Calcutta: About two hundred people including many eminent citizens took part in a protest rally demanding release of Dr. Binayak Sen in Calcutta on 16 March 2009. The rally started from the Vidyasagar Statue in front of Calcutta University and paraded down parts of Mahatma GandhiRoad, College street and Bankim Chatterjee street.
Later a citizens’ meeting was held in the Students’ Hall, which was almost packed to capacity. The speakers including Dr. Manas Joardar, (former member of CU Senate), Dr. Punyabrata Guin, Pradip Banerjee Sujato Bhadra, Amitadyuti Kumar, Dipankar Chakrabarty explained the backdrop of Dr. Sen’s arrest and called for building up a strong movement to compel the CG government to release Dr. Sen unconditionally by withdrawing all fictitious charges against him.
The meeting also demanded scrapping of Salwa Judum, and all black laws including CSPSA, NIA, AFSPA.
Delhi: There was a dharna at Jantar Mantar in solidarity with the friends who were courting arrest to press our demand for release of Dr. Binayak Sen. Eminent writer and social activist Arundhati Roy and many senior activists joined the dharna, students from JNU & DU came in large numbers along with the friends of PUDR and Delhi Solidarity Group