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Join NTUI’s March for Right to Dissent and Demanding Release of Dr. Binayak Sen (23 February 2011 at New Delhi)

Join NTUI’s March to Defend the Right to Democratic Dissent and Demanding an Immediate Release of Dr. Binayak Sen, on 23 February 2011 at New Delhi. The March will start from Jantar Mantar at 5.00 pm and culminate at the Mandi House Circle.

Dear Friends,

On 24 December 2010, the Raipur District and Sessions Court judge B.P. Varma found Dr. Binayak Sen along with Narayan Sanyal and Piyush Guha guilty under 124 A and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code and also under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and sentenced them to life imprisonment for sedition and conspiracy against the state. Dr. Binayak Sen was arrested soon after the verdict was pronounced. He has been denied bail thereafter.

Dr. Binayak Sen, a medical doctor of working people and a renowned civil rights activist of Chhattisgarh, was arrested in May 2007 under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He remained in prison for two years despite repeated applications for bail and nationwide protests before being released in May 2009. The whole charade of the Chhattisgarh law enforcement machinery was fully played out before public eye over this entire period.

Dr. Binayak Sen as the State Secretary and National Vice President of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties was and remains one of the most prominent civil rights defenders in the country. His unlawful arrest and subsequent detention and rejection of bail applications received international publicity as an example of state repression of democratic dissent. Over the past month this case has again hit headlines for the blatant falsehoods and preposterous claims made by the prosecution. The procedure followed in establishing the case against Dr. Binayak Sen has shown the arrogance of the state machinery, secure in the belief that it cannot be held accountable for its actions, and has the unchallenged right to take away the liberty of any person it holds as opposed to it. In the context today, when state and big business interests are so closely linked, any form of opposition to big business and capital, particularly by the poorest sections of society, is readily seen as anti-state. The numerous draconian laws against dissent, enacted across the country, are examples of a growing repression by the state of all forces opposed to its policies of “development”.

The verdict against a defender of human rights and a doctor of working people exhibits that the judiciary is not above the naked complicity of business interests and the state. The judiciary, which is supposed to mediate on behalf of those denied justice, and in particular defend the rights of human right defenders has today handed out this judgment condemning a defender of democratic rights with no evidence against Dr. Binayak Sen. NTUI strongly condemns this conviction and will continue the fight to release Dr. Binayak Sen. We call upon the parties in the UPA Government to appeal the Raipur Court order in defence of the rights of citizens provided for in the constitution.

The NTUI handbill for the March is attached [below].

We urge you all to Join the Protest March on 23 February 2011 at 5:00 pm from Jantar Mantar to Demand an Immediate Release of Dr. Binayak Sen.

Gautam Mody

23 Feb 2011 Binayak Handbill NTUI (PDF).