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PUCL, May 2007

PUCL Baroda

PRESS RELEASE

DATE: 16 May 2007

We at the PUCL Baroda are appalled by the arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen, General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh Peopleís Union for Civil Liberties and Vice-President of the National PUCL by Chhatisgarh police on 14th May 2007 in Bilaspur under the most undemocratic and barbaric Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2006 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2004.

We at the PUCL Baroda are appalled by the arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen, General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh Peopleís Union for Civil Liberties and Vice-President of the National PUCL by Chhatisgarh police on 14th May 2007 in Bilaspur under the most undemocratic and barbaric Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2006 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2004. The charges leveled against Dr. Sen for arrest are fictitious and it is an unjust attempt to silence the voice of a conscientious person against the Stateís unlawful actions perpetrated on the poor and especially tribal community of Chhatisgarh through different mechanisms such as Salwa Judum.

Chhatisgarh police does not have any evidence of any illegal conduct against Dr. Sen is clear from the fact that it has not demanded for his custody while producing before the court after his arrest and therefore Dr. Sen is sent in judicial custody. The very fact that Dr. Binayak Sen soon after arrest preferred to go to jail instead of getting admitted in hospital even on advice speaks volume of his resolve to voice against the unfair state sponsored terrorism on common people.

Dr. Binayak Sen is a distinguished medical doctor. He is a postgraduate in Paediatrics from Christian Medical College, Vellore. From 1976 to 1978, he was a faculty member at the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Later, he left his academic assignment to work directly with the poor and disadvantaged in villages of M.P. to improve their health status. He is an active member of the Medico Friend Circle, a national organization of health professionals working towards an alternative health system responsive to the needs of the poor and he has an illustrious 25-year record of such self less public service in a number of health areas. In recognition of his work, the Christian Medical College, Vellore conferred on him the Paul Harrison Award in 2004, which is the highest award given to an alumnus for distinguished service in rural areas. He continues to be an inspiration to successive generations of students and faculty. Many of his articles based on his work have been internationally appreciated.

Dr. Binayak Sen has been active in defending the constitutional rights of the disadvantaged, especially through the Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He has served as the General Secretary of the State PUCL Committee for the past five years and as Vice President of the National Committee for the last three years. As General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, he helped organize fact finding campaigns into human rights violations in the state including custodial deaths, fake encounters, hunger deaths, dysentery epidemics, malnutrition and so on.

The arrest of such an eminent person is only therefore to threaten all those fighting for civil liberties and basic human rights. This network of over 1000 grass-roots organisations working for health rights, is committed to sustaining a national campaign of protest against this arrest, in the knowledge that if we do not protest it now, what happens to him will become the fate of all those who fight for basic human rights of health and equity.

We request you to employ your good offices to ensure Dr. Senís unconditional and safe release without any delay. We also appeal for his safety and that he is not subjected to ill treatment during this unlawful confinement.

Dr. J. S. Bandukwala, Bina Srinivasan, Chinu Srinivasan, Tapan Dasgupta, Renu Khanna, Rohit Prajapati , Bharati Pramar, Johannes Manjrekar, Raj Kumar Hans, Iftikhar Ahmed, Trupti Shah, Maya Valecha, Ashok Gupta, Ziya Pathan Peopleís Union For Civil Liberties.


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