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Binayak Sen: Corruption is just one of the many ills

From The Times of India:

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Human rights activist Binayak Sen on Monday came out in support of Anna Hazare and said the nation should be thankful to the latter for articulating the rising public anger against corruption. Delivering the keynote address at a function here, Sensaid the Delhi Police move to arrest Hazare was immoral.

However, he added that he felt that the manner in which the campaign progressed reduced the entire debate to the choice of which bill to adopt, Anna’s version or that of the government. “The demonstrations that we saw were legitimate, but when we work within a democratic system, we should accept parliamentary norms. Corruption is just one of the many ills afflicting our political economy,” he said. State culture minister KC Joseph released two new books on Sen.

Receiving the books, Sen said he was having a tough time adjusting to his new found celebrity status. “I have been working since 1981 in Chhattisgarh. No one knew me, I was happy. But now I find myself in this situation where books are being written about me,” he quipped. Drawing attention to his work as a doctor, Sen said the nutrition situation in the country was alarming. The general picture is bad enough, but it’s pathetic when it comes to the marginalized, he said. The scene is getting further muddled with the state moving in to appropriate common property resources.

Sen urged the audience to participate and support him in his campaign to collect a million signatures to revoke the sedition law. The online petition at will be submitted to Parliament in the winter session.

“UK has scrapped the sedition provision, but we are still clinging on to it,” he said. Replying to a pointed question whether the state was trying to co-opt him by making him a member of a steering committee in Planning Commission, Sen said he was there only as an adviser, sharing his decades-long experience working among tribals on health issues.

“I don’t draw any benefits from the Planning Commission, and the latter is under no obligation to accept my advice,” he said.