By Bobby Ramakant
“The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, both operate by criminalizing the very performance of civil liberties activities, and culpability is decided upon not by direct proof, but through guilt by association” says a senior Advocate Mr. K G Kannabiran who is also the national President of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The PUCL-Chhattisgarh Unit, with Dr. Binayak Sen’s active leadership as its General Secretary, had exposed the government sponsored so-called campaign Salwa-Judum in Chhattisgarh which legitimizes extra-constitutional violence and pits adivasis against adivasis.
“The Fast is to ensure that human rights of marginalized people are not trampled upon and human rights defenders continue to work fearlessly” says Dr. Sandeep Pandey.
Dr. Binayak Sen, a medical doctor by profession, has not only dedicated his professional life to serve the medical needs of the poor and the needy in one of the most backward areas of the country but also is one with inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm for all the other causes to which he has expressed his commitment.
Dr. Binayak Sen graduated with distinction from the prestigious Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, and later completed his MD there in 1974. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to society, in 2004, Dr.Sen received the Paul Harrison award for lifetime work of medical care in the service of humanity, an award given annually by the CMC to one of its alumni.
It is this medical professional and social activist, who has been recognised as “a role model for the students and staff of CMC,” who was arrested on 14 May 2007 allegedly for “unlawful activitie,” which were supposedly “threatening public security.”
Dr. Sen has been detained since then on utterly infounded charges.
(Author is a development journalist, a World Health Organization (WHO) Awardee (2008) and can be contacted at: email@example.com)
|Dr. Binayak Sen Photo Courtesy of AP|
Hundreds of activists will be fasting from 16-25 June 2008 demanding immediate release of Dr. Binayak Sen, and others who are in jail since more than a year now in Chhattisarh under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (1967) amended in 2004.