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PUCL, May 2007

Impunity and arrest of Rajendra Sail

Press statement by KG Kannabiran, President and Y P Chhibbar, General Secretary, 24 May 2007

The General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, Dr. Binayak Sen, has been arrested without any tenable reason. Like all other activists working in our organization all over the country he was fighting against violation of human rights of any person, without relevance to his /her political affiliations. Dr. Sen was very critical of the alleged encounters and was demanding a proper enquiry into every one of those encounters. In this connection a deputation met the Home Minister of the Central Government also recently. His arrest is being debated widely. As against his arrest and the accusations the matter is before the court and the matter would be fought. We learn now that the offences under sections 120B 121A and 124 A were added subsequent to filing of the FIR At the time of issuing this statement to the press Shri Sen stands charged for Sedition, Conspiracy to wage war, and Conspiracy to commit other offences. Such post arrest and post FIR confabulations are part of the impunity governments have granted to the law-enforcing establishment.

“While we were trying to enquire in to the status of the case against Binayak Sen we were told that Rajendra Sail, the President of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, is arrested. In connection with the Shanker Guha Niyogi murder case he had made a statement after the judgment of the High Court at Jabalpur years ago. He was punished by the High Court for Contempt and the matter went to the Supreme Court.

The sentence was reduced to one week by the Apex Court.. This was in April 2005.On the 12 March 2007 the SP there writes to SP Raipur to arrest Rajendra Sail to serve his sentence. Now finding him very active in the matter of arrest Binayak Sen the arrest was effected to day. While it is true he will have to serve the sentence lawfully imposed, yet the abuse of powers is writ large. They can keep the warrant pending for years and when needed execute them. Would it not be contumacious if the police were to keep the final order pending without executing it? If this contumacious conduct is not impunity what else would be. Niyogi’s murder was prior to the formation of Chhattisgarh State.

As the crime was registered before the formation of the Chhattisgarh State was formed, after the judgment of the Supreme Court, I (KG Kannabiran) filed an application that Shri Sail be detained in Raipur Jail. And that we learn is pending. We wish to bring to the notice of people how law is abused in the State.

Dr Y P Chhibbar, the General Secretary of the PUCL has issued the following statement:
“Rajendra Sail, the President of Chhattisgarh State branch of the PUCL was arrested yesterday (May 24, 2007) by heavily armed Chhattisgarh police. This is the second arrest of the PUCL office bearers of Chhattisgarh State branch. It is a crude attempt to scuttle the peaceful and democratic protest being organised in Chhattisgarh against the arrest of Dr Binayak Sen, the General Secretary of Chhattisgarh PUCL, and the State policy of repression in the name of suppressing extremist movements.

“Rajendra Sail had made a statement on the judgement of the High Court at Jabalpur regarding the Shanker Guha Niyogi Murder case in 2001. The High Court punished him for contempt with a sentence of imprisonment for six months in June 2001, in the case filed in 1998 by the MP Bar Association. The matter went to the Supreme Court and in April 2005 the Supreme Court fixed the sentence to one week of imprisonment. On March 12, 2007 the Jabalpur SP wrote to the SP Raipur to arrest Rajendra Sail to serve his sentence and the arrest was affected on May 24, 2007. Clearly the Chhattisgarh Government found the pending contempt sentence a convenient tool to remove Rajendra Sail from the scene for sometime. He was, thus, arrested to serve a two year old sentence dug up two months ago and implemented yesterday.

“It is pertinent to note here that Sail was actively organising opposition to the arrest of Dr Binayak Sen, the General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh PUCL. A week long programme of activities is to culminate on May 31, 2007 in a massive public meeting in Raipur.

“The chain of events in Chhattisgarh resulting in the arrests of the activists and office bearers of the PUCL is a pointer to undemocratic attitudes and suppression of Civil Liberties and Human Rights by the Chhattisgarh State Government.

“The PUCL urges peace loving citizens believing in democratic methods to do whatever they can for registering their protest against the actions of the Chhattisgarh Government. The PUCL ones again pledges its adherence to peaceful and non-violent methods."

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014