Smiling faces turn red after Sen verdict

Friday, December 24, 2010

RAIPUR - It was a huge gathering of right activists and mediapersons outside at the district and sessions court Friday here as judge B.P. Varma prepared to rule in a case involving rights activist Binayak Sen.

Activists, mainly of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), of which Sen a national vice president, reached the court premises at 11 a.m. and were confident that he would be acquitted.

Sens younger brother Dipankar looked relaxed and escorted his brother to the court room as activists claimed they expected “a great victory”.

By 1.30 p.m., the whole scene changed. The beaming faces suddenly turned red in shock and disbelief. Some had wet eyes.

Once the judge sentenced Binayak Sen to life imprisonment, Dipankar broke down. He headed to the vehicle in which his brother was escorted to, after having been convicted for sedition among other charges.

One activist shouted in consolation: “Please, Dipankar, have respect for the court. Its not the end of the road.”

It took several minutes for Dipankar to stop crying.

But Illina Sen, wife of Binayak Sen, remained calm although she sat on the court steps in disbelief. “A sad day for Indian democracy,” she said.

As journalists surrounded her, she said: “You people dont know much (about) the case. I attended the trial and knew there was no evidence against Sen.”

Several of Sens associates called the judicial ruling “shocking”.

A few reporters too reacted in disbelief. One newsman shouted: “Better be silent, brothers. Otherwise you too will meet the same fate.”

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