Tight security in Raipur for court ruling on Sen

Thursday, December 23, 2010

RAIPUR - Rights activists from across India gathered here Thursday as a court was set to rule Friday in a case involving Binayak Sen, who spent two years in jail for alleged links with Maoists. He faces charges including treason and waging war against the state.

Security has been stepped up in and around the district and sessions court where judge B.P. Varma will give his verdict.

The judgment assumes significance for right activists who say that the authorities trapped Sen, a doctor and a civil rights activist, on trumped up charges.

“We are very eagerly awaiting the judgment,” Rajendra K. Sail, a former president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in Chhattisgarh, told IANS.

Another rights activist, Gautam Bandopadhyay, said: “Whatever the judgment, we will continue to raise voice against rights abuses by the government.”

Chhattisgarh’s Bharatiya Janata Party government is also keeping a close watch on the proceedings as the court ruling means a lot to it.

The government has been facing allegations by activists in recent years for taking a tough stand against those who voice concern about right abuses or refuse to toe the government line against Maoists.

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 Raipur District and Sessions Court completed its hearing last week. The trial began in May 2008 and 97 witnesses were examined.

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

It also claimed that Sen had met Sanyal in Raipur central jail for 33 times in just about a month and passed on some seditious letters between Sanyal and Kolkata-based businessman and alleged Maoist Piyush Guha.

The defence strongly denied prosecution charges and argued that Sen met Sanyal all the time with the permission of the jailer and the meetings were held in the jailor’s room.

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 violation of human rights.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

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