PUCL Karnataka Towards civil liberties and human rights for all in Karnataka

|Press Note| Protest Meeting in Bangalore – Binayak Sen Conviction

[Press Note in Kannada]

Bangalore, December 29th

At a protest organised at the Town Hall in Bangalore, Human Rights organisations, NGOs and the civil society came out in strong opposition to a verdict by a Raipur court that convicted Dr Binayak Sen on charges of sedition and pronounced a life sentence. The protest, held under the banner of “Free Binayak Sen”, demanded his immediate release and that charges against him should be dropped.
The event was attended by over 600 people.

Apart from being a strong show of dissent against the judgement, the meeting was raising awareness on a host of issues related to human rights.

The targeting of Human Rights activists came in for special attention. Participants said that the Binayak Sen case was one more example of how the state had started going after defenders of human rights, particularly those that are working closely on issues related marginalised communities, tribals and land rights.

The activists were concerned about the application of sedition laws to people who publicly express dissent. They felt that this was dangerous and was not only un-democratic but was against the principles enshrined in the constitution. They said that it was not just activists who are bearing the brunt of sedition laws. They pointed to the example of Orissa, where four cases of sedition have been filed against journalists in recent years .

On the specifics of the Binayak Sen case, the gathering was of the opinion that the conviction was made without adequate evidence and was a vindictive response to the work that Dr Binayak Sen had done as a Civil Liberties campaigner in exposing the nexus between the Salwa Judum militia and the government machinery. The gathering held that Dr Sen was a Humanitarian who had received global recognition for his work as a Doctor amongst the tribal communities of Chhattisgarh and that the case against him was politically motivated. .

  • Justice Saldanha says, “ It is not a judgment but an atrocity of the worst order.”
  • Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swamiji, from Nedumamudi Mutt,  says, “Its an undemocratic judgment, and it is an assault on justice”.
  • From Popular Front of India, Usman Baig says, “Judiciary is also becoming fascist like the executive and legislature.”
  • Advocate Balan, from AITUC, says, “This is judicial terrorism”
  • U.R Ananthmurthy says, “Dr. Binayak Sen represents me too”
  • Agni Sridhar, and other speakers condemned the turn of events and called it an assault on democracy, pressing for the release of Dr. Binayak Sen.

The protest was jointly organised by Alternative Law Forum, Amnesty International, Bangalore Janara Vedike, Jana Arogya Andolana Karantaka, Jana Sahayoga, Janasthra, National Alliance for People’s Movements, People’s Democratic Forum, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Sangama, SICHREM, Vimochana and many others.

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