PUCL meeting with Chhatisgarh CM
[ See also, PUCL letter to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister ]
Thirty-eight days days after the arrest of Binayak Sen, a delegation from PUCL was finally able to meet the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr. Raman Singh, on 20 June 2007.
The delegation impressed upon the Chief Minister that there is no evidence against Dr. Sen and made the following demands:
The immediate release of Dr. Binayak Sen
The withdrawal of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, which has shown itself to be liable to be misused by the police.
An objective enquiry into the displacement and violence caused by Salwa Judum.
The Chief Minister raised the issue of Dr. Senís meetings with Narayan Sanyal. The delegation explained that these visits were for the purpose of medical treatment of Narayan Sanyal and also regarding his legal case. Most important, all these visits took place in the Raipur jail, following procedures laid down in the jail manual.
The delegation gave the Chief Minister some background of the work of PUCL and explained that as an active member of PUCL Dr. Sen was duty-bound to take up issues related to human rights, and that his work should be seen in this context. He had openly and publicly raised the issue of human rights violations by the state, as also human rights violations by Naxalite forces, and that his concern throughout had been to bring an end to such acts.
It was pointed out to the Chief Minister that human rights organizations represent a middle ground which make it possible for opposing forces to dialogue with each other. If the functioning of human rights organizations is hampered in this way and if human rights defenders are actively persecuted, then it leads to a situation where the state and opposing forces have no scope for dialogue and both have to take to the path of confrontation.
The Chief Minister gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured that he would look into the various issues, particularly in view of the points raised by the delegation regarding the branding of Dr. Sen as a Ďhardcore Naxaliteí; the analysis of the CPU in the absence of Dr. Senís advocate and the independent court-appointed witness, raising the possibility of attempts to manufacture evidence; and making Narayan Sanyal a co-accused in Dr. Senís case and the introduction of new charges by the police. Responding to the delegationís view that he is being misled by the police, who appear to be determined to fabricate a case against Dr. Sen, he gave an assurance that he would look into the matter.