Two years on, fight to free Sen continues

May 14th, 2009 - 7:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Raipur, May 14 (IANS) Dozens of human rights activists marched through the Chhattisgarh capital Raipur Thursday seeking immediate release of Binayak Sen, a doctor-activist, who completed two years in jail Thursday.
Sen, an award-winning paediatrician who has been lauded for serving poor communities in India, was jailed May 14, 2007 for his alleged links with Maoist guerrillas, a charge he, his family and his activist friends, vehemently deny.

The protest march was held by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and several other social and rights organisations here under the Mukti Utsav (freedom festival) programme to mark two years of alleged unjust incarceration of the rights activist.

Sen, 59, the PUCL national vice president, is accused of carrying letters to and from Narayan Sanyal, a jailed Maoist leader, whom he has also treated.

Sen is lodged in Raipur central jail since he was picked up by police in Bilaspur town under stringent Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“The Chhattisgarh government has made it a prestige issue. It’s not ready to listen to the voice of people. All charges are collapsing in court against Dr. Sen. He must be released without any delay,” Ilina Sen, wife of the jailed doctor, told IANS by phone from New Delhi.

She said the past two years for her were “very emotional and painful which can’t be described”.

Ilina Sen, who teaches women’s studies at Mahatma Gandhi University in Wardha, has been working relentlessly to free her husband.

“People who know that a grave injustice has been done to a rights activist are protesting in hundreds across India,” she said.

Gautam Kumar Bandyopadhyay, also an activist, who attended the protest march here says Sen has been victimised for exposing human rights violations by the state in Chhattisgarh.

“(The) Chhattisgarh government has threatened the democracy by trapping Dr. Sen. In this state, whoever will try to highlight the state-sponsored human rights violations will meet the same fate,” Bandyopadhyay told IANS.

Rights activists in Chhattisgarh say Sen has been held under “trumped up charges” but the state police maintain they have “clinching evidences” to prove the charges in court.

The Supreme Court has already rejected his bail application. But his second bail plea will come up for hearing in the apex court Friday.

Last year, 22 Nobel laureates wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil seeking Sen’s freedom.

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