Free Binayak Sen: Delhi protestors demand

Monday, December 27, 2010

NEW DELHI - Holding placards and chanting slogans, activists, students and academicians Monday protested in the capital against a Chhattisgarh court sentencing rights activist and doctor Binayak Sen to life imprisonment. The protesters demanded that Sen be freed.

The Raipur court Dec 24 sentenced Sen to life imprisonment for sedition and links with outlawed Maoists.

Speaking out against the judgment, activist and author Arundhati Roy said there is lack of evidence in Sen’s case and while they know that they can appeal in the higher courts, “the process is the punishment”.

Sahba Hussain, a researcher, asked: “If the government can do this with Binayak Sen, a person who has worked so much for the poor and is internationally acclaimed, then what hope is there for the common man?”

The protesters, numbering about 300, also sang songs reiterating their demand. They also carried huge posters with an enlarged photograph of Sen looking through the barred window of a police vehicle and with the words “Brazen Injustice” imprinted on it.

According to Gautam Navlakha, an activist, the court ruling was “a miscarriage of justice”.

Social activist Swami Agnivesh said: “The allegations are wrong. If someone sees the content of the letter they will laugh. As for the allegation that he met Maoists in the jail, it was for their medical treatment.”

Meanwhile, former Delhi High Court chief justice Rajinder Sachar, who is also member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) of which Sen is the vice president, said they will organise protests and candlelight marches across the country.

“An intolerant atmosphere is created in India such that whoever speaks against the government is in trouble. Civil liberties are in danger,” Sachar said.

“We will go to the higher courts and appeal. But we will also have protests all over India to highlight this issue,” he added.

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