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Two Years, Too Much !

An Evening of Protest
(To mark the second anniversary of Dr. Binayak Sen’s imprisonment)

May 14, 2009 Thursday
5.30 p.m. onwards

At
The Lawns of Rabindra Bhawan, Mandi House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi

Music                                                  Poetry                             Speeches
Rabbi Shergil                            Manglesh Dabral               Jst.(retd.) Rajinder Sachar
Dipta Bhog and Yagna              Gauhar Raza                  Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty
Ritwik, Tushar and Anand        Khursheed Anwar       Prof. Uma Chakravarthy
Jigri                                          K. Sachitanandan               & other concerned citizens
Sushmit Bose                           Vishnu Nagar
Hameed                                   Sanjay Kundan
On 14 May 2009 Dr Binayak Sen, well-known paediatrician and human rights defender, will complete two years in a Raipur prison on false charges of abetting Maoist activity in Chhattisgarh, sedition, and waging war against the State. This committed advocate of civil liberties has spent over three decades in the service of some of the poorest and neglected people in this country and raised his voice relentlessly against atrocities in the State of Chhattisgarh in an attempt to uphold the original values of Indian democracy. The imprisonment of Dr. Binayak Sen is symbolic of gross injustice and violation of democratic values by the State and the suppression of the voices of human rights defenders.

Please join us in this struggle to preserve our rights, liberty and freedom and show our solidarity in support of a cause that is core to democracy.

The protest in Delhi on 14th May is part of a global action for release of Dr. Binayak Sen, on the day that marks two years of his incarceration.

ARTISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
&
Release Binayak Campaign

For details regarding the case and the campaign, visit:

http://raipursatyagraha.wordpress.com/

http://www.binayaksen.net/

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Dr Binayak Sen has been in prison for 22 months, arrested under one of India’s most draconian laws, the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act. This Act has such a vague, diffused definition of ‘Unlawful Activity’ that it renders every person guilty unless he or she can prove their innocence. Dr Sen’s bail application was dismissed twice, both times at the very outset, by the High Court of Chattisgarh and by the Supreme Court of India. On neither occasion was there a discussion on the merits of the case. On the 2nd of December 2008 the High Court of Chattisgarh once again turned down his bail application, without a discussion on the merits of the case, saying that there had been no change in circumstances.


But there has been a change in circumstances. To begin with, the charge-sheet has been filed. 64 witnesses have been examined by the prosecution. Not one of them has provided legally admissible evidence to support the accusations in the charge-sheet. Even the jail officials, the Superintendent and the Jailer, who were called as witnesses by the Prosecution, have ruled out the possibility of Dr Sen being a carrier of letters given to him by Narayan Sanyal (said to be a senior Maoist leader) who is a high security prisoner in Raipur Jail. (It should be mentioned here that Narayan Sanyal has a medical condition which requires surgical intervention from time to time, which is why the jail authorities permitted Dr Sen to visit him regularly.)That Dr Sen should continue to be in prison when the case against him has almost completely fallen through says a great deal about the very grave situation in Chattisgarh today. There is a civil war in this state. Hundreds are being killed and imprisoned. Hundreds of thousands of the poorest of the poor are hiding in the forests, fearing for their lives. They have no access to food, to markets, to schools or healthcare. The thousands who have been moved into the camps of the government-backed peoples’ militia, the Salwa Judum, are also trapped in sordid encampments, which have to be guarded by armed police. Hatred, violence and brutality is being cynically spread, pitting the poor against the poorest.

There is very little doubt that Dr Sen is in prison because he spoke out against this policy of the State Government, because he opposed the formation of the Salwa Judum. His incarceration is meant to silence dissent, and criminalize democratic space. It is meant to create a wall of silence around the civil war in Chattisgarh. It is meant to absorb all our attention so that the stories of the hundreds of other nameless, faceless people – ­those without lawyers, without the attention of journalists – who are starving and dying in the forests, go unnoticed and unrecorded.

Tomorrow is World Health Day. Dr Binayak Sen spent the best part of his life working among the poorest people in India, who live far away from the government’s attentions, with no access to clinics, hospitals, doctors or medicines. He has saved thousands from certain death from malaria, diarrhea, and other easily treatable illnesses. And yet, he is the one in jail, while those who boast openly about mass murder are free to go about their business, and even stand for elections.


What does this say about us? About who we are and where we’re going?

Arundhati Roy

Issued at the Raipur Satyagraha for the Release of Dr Binayak Sen

Also visit www.raipursatyagraha.wordpress.com

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Dear friends,

The fourth batch of 104  protesters took part in the satyagraha for the release of jailed human rights and health activist Dr Binayak Sen, in Raipur today.
The programme began with protestors congregating at Budha Talab and holding a public meeting there.
A press conference was held at 1:30 pm at the press club and was addressed among others by Arundhati Roy, Anuradha Talwar (NTUI and PBKMS), and Dr. Abhay Shukla (Pune Solidarity Committee for Release of Dr. Binayak Sen).
104 protestors marched through the streets of Raipur and later courted arrest. 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 included among others:
  • Dr. Abhay Shukla and 3 activists from the Pune Solidarity Committee for the Release of Dr. Binayak Sen
  • Bhan Sahu and 9 activists from Lok Sangwaari Pariwaar, Rajnandgaon, CG.
  • Anuradha Talwar and 53 activists from Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti (an NTUI affiliate) and Shramjivi Mahila Samiti, West Bengal
  • Sudhir Bhan and 3 members from All West Bengal Sales Representative Union (AWBSRU, an NTUI affiliate)
  • Adhiyok from Lucknow
  • approximately 30 activists from various groups in Chattisgarh.

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Dear friends,
The third batch of 90 protesters took part in the satyagraha for the release of jailed human rights and health activist Dr Binayak Sen, in Raipur today.

All 90 protestors have courted arrest. 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 included:

  • Amitdyuti Kumar (APDR)
  • Chauton Das (Bandi Mukti Committee)
  • Jayamitra (writer)
  • Prashant Haldar (APDR)
  • Santosh Rana (PCC)
  • Meher Engineer (intellectual/scientist)
  • Shyamoli Khastagir (social activist)
  • Members from Shilpi Sena
  • Members from Sanjukta Paribahan Shramik Union

In solidarity,
Rakhi & Anirban

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More than 83 persons courted arrest today, 23rd of March, 2009, demanding the release of Dr. Binayak Sen. The arrests were led by Rashida Bi, Hazra Bi and Sati nath Sarangi of Bhopal Gas survivor organisations. More than 65 people came. They came from three orgnaisations of the Gas affected people. The others who courted arrest included Narottam Sharma CPI(ML) Liberation, noted film maker Amar Kanwar from Delhi, people’s musician Vinay Mahajan from Ahmedabad, Kavita Srivastava from the PUCL and. Lakhan Sahu and others from CMM, Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti, They were more than 59 women and 25 men who were arrested. The march began with a two minute silence remembering Dr. Smitu Kothari a friend of People’s movements in the country, who passed away today morning in Delhi.

The March from Budha Talab in Raipur was led by 82 year old Anasuya Sen mother of Dr. Binayak Sen from Kolkata, others who participated in solidarity include Sh. Saura Yadav, Bharat Bhushan Pandey and nine others from the CPI ML. Speaking to the rallyists Ms. Anasuya Sen said that the world knew that Dr. Sen was innocent and he was not in good health, however, it was also clear that since he had exposed the excesses of the State that he was behind bars and was being denied freedom. She also sang Tagore’s “aami bhoy korbo na” meaning “I will not be afraid” which added to the power of the satyagrah.

The Bhopal Gas Survivors through a powerful rendering of slogans demanded the release of Dr. Sen. They also demanded the repealing of the Chhattisgarh Jan Suraksha Adhiniyam and the end of Salwa Judum from the Chhattisgarh Government. They also pledged that would bring down corrupt administration of Chhattisgarh if the incarceration of Dr. Sen would continue. Speaking on the occasions Rashida Bi expressed shock that while Varun Gandhi publicly made hate speeches was granted anticipatory bail in no time by a Delhi Court but Dr. Sen who had committed no crime was even being denied bail even after twenty months. They said that since Dr. Sen was the hope of the poor adivasis and workers he was being incarcerated. She ended her speech that till Warren Anderson of Union Carbide the killer of more than 25, 000 Bhopal Gas victims wouldnot be arrested they would not stop their quest for justice.

Vinay Mahajan from Loknaad Ahmedabad sang songs demanding the release of Dr. Sen. The most popular lines which were rendered by all were Mere Desh ko ye janane hak re, kyun jailon me rahe desh premi, deshi drohi ki pechaan nahi. He also sang Shravan Kumar’s song dhola baje, Ghunghroo Baje, Madal Baje celebrating the struggles and the lives the great heroes, BirsaMunda, Tilka Manji and Sidhu. The lines were ….Tilika nachey, Sidhu Nachey, Birsa Nachey He also demanded of the authorities that our Dr. Sen, the people’s doctor be handed back to us, his was not the place in Jail.

Noted Film Maker Amar Kanwar also marched with the satyagrahis and courted arrest. He had earlier inaugurated the Bhilai Film Archive and the Chhattisgarh Jan Film Utsav which was to dedicated towards Dr. Sen’s release and against the injustice being meted out to the people of Chhattisgarh.

The Satyagrahis will be back next Monday 30th of March in Raipur to continue the protest against Dr. Sen’s arrest and demand his release.

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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

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