Chhattisgarh lawyers, politicians silent on Sen verdict

Saturday, December 25, 2010

RAIPUR - A day has passed since life imprisonment has been pronounced to rights activist Binayak Sen along with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal and businessman Piyush Guha, but Chhattisgarh’s lawyers and politicians are silent on the subject.

Leading figures from social work, media and even advocates have so far refused to make any public comment on the district and sessions court’s Friday verdict against Sen that has shocked activists across the country and abroad.

Neither the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party nor the opposition Congress have made any statement either.

“Better to keep quite, it’s not a political decision, it’s a court verdict that does not warrant comment,” a leading social worker active in the state’s industrial towns of Korba and Raigarh said when his reaction was sought.

But he was quick to add: “Please don’t put my name, I don’t want to attract authorities’ ire. If Binayak Sen can be trapped, who am I in their eyes?”

Leading advocates too preferred to be refrain from making observations on the judgment of Judge B.P. Varma on Sen, whose incarceration was condemned by a group of 22 Nobel laureates.

Sen was convicted on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy, while Sanyal, a politburo member of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, and Guha were also found guilty of criminal conspiracy. All three were awarded life imprisonment.

“Please don’t ask for any comment. It’s a very sensitive case that involves the pride and stakes of many politicians and police officers. I don’t want to land in trouble. But then, why do you want my comment when several national and international right activists are eager to offer comment to media?” a senior advocate based in Raipur remarked.

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