Pune city activists flay conviction of Binayak Sen

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Pune: The Release Binayak Sen Committee in Pune has condemned a Raipur (Chhattisgarh) court holding Dr Binayak Sen guilty of treason and awarding him life sentence on Friday. The committee termed it as “totally unexpected” and “unjust verdict”.
Binayak Sen, who is a paediatrician from Chhattisgarh and is known for opposing the anti-Naxalite salwa judum campaign, is also a public health specialist and national vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He has been found guilty in helping Maoists and has been convicted of treason.
Reacting to this, the city committee members in a press statement said, “This punishment, given without a shred of any incriminating evidence, will erode the credibility of the judicial system. Great injustice has been done, not only to Dr Sen but also to the democratic fabric of this country.’’
Dr Anant Phadke, one of the members, said various allegations against Sen have been widely held as baseless and ridiculous. “He was allegedly called as a Naxalite’s assistant on the grounds that he met Narayan Sanyal many times in jail. But many don’t know that Dr Sen met the ailing 70-year-old under trial to give him medical advice and to discuss the plan of treatment,’’ he explained.
He said the meetings were conducted in the presence of jail officials after securing their permission. “The letter seized from Dr Sen’s house, which was produced as evidence against him,was a postcard sent by Sanyal to Dr Sen that had passed the jail scrutiny,’’ Phadke said.
Besides this, the PUCL has been demanding the withdrawal of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) under which Sen was charged in 2007. Various political parties, people’s organisations, journalists’ associations and both national and international human rights organisations have pointed out the alleged unconstitutional and repressive features of this Act.
“Among its arbitrary and dangerous features are the vague definitions of ‘illegal’ and ‘unlawful’ activities. The definitions are such that even peaceful forms of democratic protest and ordinary civil disobedience can be brought under its purview and declared ‘unlawful activity’ and any protesting group can be declared ‘unlawful’. We demand that justice be done to Dr Sen, Indian judicial system and to Indian democracy,’’ said the statement.

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