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Release Dr Binayak Sen, says IAWS

Press Release
26 February 2008

The Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS), during its Silver Jubilee Conference at Lucknow on February 9, has appealed for the release of Dr Binayak Sen, a human rights activist and a pediatrician, who has been in jail for the past nine months. In its resolution the IAWS has also demanded the repeal of Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.

The Indian Association for Women’s Studies has adopted the following resolution:

The Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS) at its General Body meeting, held on February 9 during its Silver Jubilee Conference at Lucknow, unanimously passed the following resolution in the context of the ongoing detention of the medical doctor and human rights activist Binayak Sen.

The IAWS appeals for the release of Binayak Sen who has been held in judicial custody under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 and the Chhattisgarh Public Security Act 2005.

The IAWS further demands the repeal of the unconstitutional Chhattisgarh Public Security Act that violates the fundamental rights of Indian citizens.

The Silver Jubilee Conference (The XII National Conference on Women’s Studies “Feminism, Education and the Transformation of Knowledge: Processes and Institutions” co-hosted with the University of Lucknow, from February 7-10 2008, was attended by over 500 out of station and 300 local participants.

The Indian Association for Women’s Studies, established in 1982, is a professional association that aims to further the perspectives of women’s studies within and beyond educational institutions.

It endeavours to strengthen the movement for women’s equality through networking, conferences, workshops and research and through collaboration with institutions and groups working for similar objectives.

Our concern for gender justice extends to the human rights of all citizens.

IAWS extends support to campaigns on issues which are within the framework of its objectives and guiding principles and on which the membership expresses strong support.

Dr Binayak Sen, a human rights activist and a pediatrician, was arrested in Bilaspur on May 14, 2007. He has been booked under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Indian Penal Code.

His bail petitions have been rejected by the Sessions Court, High Court and the Supreme Court.

Dr Sen has spent 25 years of his life in Chhattisgarh working primarily on people’s health issues. He has been involved in setting up of a workers’ hospital in Dalli-Rajhara, running a medical clinic in a remote tribal village, advising the state government on public health, etc.

In his capacity as vice president of the national People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and general secretary of its state unit for the past five years, Dr Sen has also documented and brought out to light instances of fake encounters, abysmal jail conditions and the state of malnutrition and dysentery among poor tribal communities.

Source: IAWS