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Justice on Trial – Day 1

Shot of billboard announcing Justice on Trial events 4-6 April, Alliance Francaise de New Delhi (Photo Mukul Dube)

4 April 2011

The three day cultural festival ‘JUSTICE ON TRIAL’ began today with a massive participation of civil society, youth and eminent artists, writers, photographers and performers.

Some of the top Indian artists and photographers contributed their original works for display at a special exhibition in solidarity with Dr Binayak Sen and on the theme of human rights and freedom. The work will be on exhibit for three days from 4-6 April, 2011 at the Alliance Francaise Art Gallery and is open to all members of the public to visit.

Artists include Subodh Gupta, T.V.Santosh, Bharti Kher, Probir Gupta, Gigi Scaria, Mithu Sen, Sharmila Samant, Shreyas Karle, Susanta Mondal among others; photos include those by Prashant Panjiar, Pablo Bartholomew, Parthiv Shah and Ram Rahman. The artists in a statement said, “ The Sedition Law directly attacks the freedom of expression, and is therefore impossible to reconcile with the conditions necessary for a healthy atmosphere for culture, art and intellectual life”.

They go on to say, “ No civilized society sends an individual like Dr Binayak Sen to prison for doing what can only be regarded as his duty as a medical professional and as a civil rights activist. If it can happen to Binayak Sen today, it can happen to anyone tomorrow”.

On the first day of the three-day cultural festival of protest a panel discussion was held with participation from Dr Ilina Sen, Supreme Court lawyer Vrinda Grover and well known social activist and National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy.

In a statement issued to the media Dr Ilina Sen said, “Binayak’s story illustrates the extreme paranoia with which sections of our political leadership and bureaucracy react when they find that the writ of their unaccountable power stands challenged.” According to her it was a sad reflection on our system that once a false case is registered in the name of security, it is almost impossible to turn the clock back, even if facts stare us in the face and indicate that the case had no basis.”

Pavan Kumar’s award winning film ‘AFSPA, 1958’ was screened while Manipuri youth band ‘Imphal Talkies’ performed at the event.

The second and third day of the cultural festival will see eminent film personalities and social activists join artists, writers and performers express their views on issues of freedom, human rights and democracy in the context of Dr Binayak Sen’s controversial conviction in Chhattisgarh late last year. On 6 April at 5.30 PM film maker Anand Patwardhan and veteran actress Sharmila Tagore will address a press conference at the venue of the festival.