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An account of the 23 March Raipur Satyagraha, from Kavita Srivastava and Sudha Bharadwaj

Below is a longer account of the Second Raipur Satyagraha, from Kavita Srivastava and Sudha Bharadwaj.

“Speaking on the occasions Rashida Bi [of the Bhopal Gas Survivors] expressed shock that while Varun Gandhi publicly made hate speeches was granted anticipatory bail in no time by a Delhi Court but Dr. Sen who had committed no crime was even being denied bail even after twenty months.”
Good point!
–Shalini

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Release Binayak
Date: Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 10:47 AM
Subject: Update on Second Raipur Satyagraha, 23 March

NEWS FROM RAIPUR SATYAGRAH DEMANDING THE RELEASE OF DR BINAYAK SEN

23rd March

“Mere Desh ko ye janane hak re, kyun jailon me rahe desh premi, desh drohi ki pechaan nahi….” sang the Satyagrahis and courted arrest in Raipur

More than 83 persons courted arrest today, 23rd of March, 2009, demanding the release of Dr. Binayak Sen. The arrests were led by Rashida Bi, Hazra Bi and Sati nath Sarangi of Bhopal Gas survivor organisations. More than 65 people came. They came from three orgnaisations of the Gas affected people. The others who courted arrest included Narottam Sharma CPI(ML) Liberation, noted film maker Amar Kanwar from Delhi, people’s musician Vinay Mahajan from Ahmedabad, Kavita Srivastava from the PUCL and. Lakhan Sahu and others from CMM, Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti, They were more than 59 women and 25 men who were arrested. The march began with a two minute silence remembering Dr. Smitu Kothari a friend of People’s movements in the country, who passed away today morning in Delhi.

The March from Budha Talab in Raipur was led by 82 year old Anasuya Sen mother of Dr. Binayak Sen from Kolkata, others who participated in solidarity include Sh. Saura Yadav, Bharat Bhushan Pandey and nine others from the CPI ML. Speaking to the rallyists Ms. Anasuya Sen said that the world knew that Dr. Sen was innocent and he was not in good health, however, it was also clear that since he had exposed the excesses of the State that he was behind bars and was being denied freedom. She also sang Tagore’s “aami bhoy korbo na” meaning “I will not be afraid” which added to the power of the satyagrah.

The Bhopal Gas Survivors through a powerful rendering of slogans demanded the release of Dr. Sen. They also demanded the repealing of the Chhattisgarh Jan Suraksha Adhiniyam and the end of Salwa Judum from the Chhattisgarh Government. They also pledged that would bring down corrupt administration of Chhattisgarh if the incarceration of Dr. Sen would continue. Speaking on the occasions Rashida Bi expressed shock that while Varun Gandhi publicly made hate speeches was granted anticipatory bail in no time by a Delhi Court but Dr. Sen who had committed no crime was even being denied bail even after twenty months. They said that since Dr. Sen was the hope of the poor adivasis and workers he was being incarcerated. She ended her speech that till Warren Anderson of Union Carbide the killer of more than 25, 000 Bhopal Gas victims wouldnot be arrested they would not stop their quest for justice.

Vinay Mahajan from Loknaad Ahmedabad sang songs demanding the release of Dr. Sen. The most popular lines which were rendered by all were Mere Desh ko ye janane hak re, kyun jailon me rahe desh premi, deshi drohi ki pechaan nahi. He also sang Shravan Kumar’s song dhola baje, Ghunghroo Baje, Madal Baje celebrating the struggles and the lives the great heroes, BirsaMunda, Tilka Manji and Sidhu. The lines were ….Tilika nachey, Sidhu Nachey, Birsa Nachey He also demanded of the authorities that our Dr. Sen, the people’s doctor be handed back to us, his was not the place in Jail.

Noted Film Maker Amar Kanwar also marched with the satyagrahis and courted arrest. He had earlier inaugurated the Bhilai Film Archive and the Chhattisgarh Jan Film Utsav which was to dedicated towards Dr. Sen’s release and against the injustice being meted out to the people of Chhattisgarh.

The Satyagrahis will be back next Monday 30th of March in Raipur to continue the protest against Dr. Sen’s arrest and demand his release.

Sudha Bharadwaj & Kavita Srivastava