Chennai activists rally for Binayak Sen’s release

May 15th, 2008 - 12:50 am ICT by admin  

Chennai, May 14 (IANS) Several social groups and human rights activists held a rally here Wednesday, demanding the immediate release of fellow activist and physician Binayak Sen, who has been imprisoned by the Chhattisgarh government for the past one year. The police arrested Sen, a paediatrician by profession and vice president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), May 14, 2007 from Bilaspur town for his alleged links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal.

Speakers at the rally included Tamil film editor A. Marx of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-affiliated Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers’ Association, R. Geetha of the Tamil Nadu Construction Workers Federation and G.R. Ravindranath of the Tamil Nadu chapter of the Communist Party of India-led Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD). The rally was supported by PUCL.

They described Sen’s incarceration as an illustration of attacks on human rights in the name of anti-terrorism.

Sen is held under the stringent Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Police filed a charge sheet with a list of six witnesses against the doctor in March this year, accusing him of treason and conspiracy among other offences.

The four-day initial trial of Sen ended May 3 with the six witnesses deposing and being cross-examined at a fast-track court at Raipur.

Speakers at the rally here condemned the “draconian laws” being used by governments. Terming Sen’s arrest as “unlawful and unjustified”, they demanded hsi immediate release.

“His arrest is the reflection of deteriorating and rapidly shrinking space for airing concerns of the common man,” one of the speakers said, adding the “culture of intolerance” was growing.

Sen’s supporters have alleged that he is being harassed since he opposed the government’s move to arm tribals to counter the Maoist movement.

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