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PUCL, June 2007

Public demonstration to condemn the arrest of Dr.Binayak Sen, general secretary, PUCL, Chhittisgarh

PEOPLES’ UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (Tamil Nadu – Puducherry) COIMBATORE UNIT No. 9, 4th Floor, India Towers, Gopalapuram, Coimbatore- 641 018. Phone: 9842279896; 9443039630 Email: pucl.coimbatore@yahoo.co.in

Press release, 1 June 2007 | Photos

PUCL, Coimbatore Unit has called for a Public Demonstration on 29th May 2007, at Red Cross Bldg, mobilising the solidarity of all the democratic and human rights activists in the city, to condemn the illegal arrest of Dr. Bineyak Sen, General Secretary of PUCL, Chhattisgarh, and All India Vice President of PUCL on 14th May 2007, under the draconian law “The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA)”, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 which is since amended in 2004 and made more stringent after the collapse of POTA.

It may be recalled that the provisions of the CSPSA provide for arbitrary detention with no remedy of appeal or review provided against such arbitrary powers and decisions that may be made by the District Magistrate. In fact, it goes even further by providing an ‘ouster of jurisdiction’ clause and providing that action under this Act by any officer authorized by the government for this purpose or by the District Magistrae shall not be questioned before any court.

Considering the consistent human rights violations of the Chattisgarh government, it is not surprising that the State authorities in Chattisgarh have chosen to invoke the above draconian law which do not carry the provisions of bail, appeal, etc against Dr. Sen.

Dr. Sen's untiring work in documenting the atrocities and violations committed by the state forces in the guise of the Salwa Judum has earned him the ire of the police. PUCL, Chhattisgarh and other democratic activists have been raising their voice and campaigning against these illegal and inhuman practices, and for this service to democracy, the familiar allegation of being a 'Maoist' is made against them.

It may be noted that Dr. Binayak Sen was detained at the Tarbahar Police Station, Bilaspur in the afternoon, when he returned from Kolkotta after a fortnight's leave. He was made a co-accused in the case of one Mr. Piyush Guha, (who was arrested illegally on 1st of May in the evening, but produced before the Magistrate only on 5th May, 2007) after the PUCL issued statement-expressing concern about his "abduction" by the police.

We have reason to believe that Dr. Binayak Sen, as a member of PUCL is being targeted for continually raising civil rights issues in Chhattisgarh including the recent killing of 12 adivasis in Bijapur district on 31 st March. We strongly condemn this politically motivated arrest and are deeply concerned about the health and safety of Dr. Sen while in custody.

Hence, we call upon all the human rights and democratic forces in the country to prevail upon the Government of Chatishgarh for the unconditional release of Dr. Sen and repeal of the draconian laws immediately, to avert its use on democratic forces.

-- Mohammad Aubacker, PUCL Coimbatore. Coordinator

Who is Dr. Binayak Sen?
Dr. Binayak Sen is a very well known person and highly respected both in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere. As a medical doctor, Dr Sen has been actively involved in reaching health care to the poorest people as well as monitoring the health and nutrition status of the people of Chhattisgarh. Dr Sen helped to set up the Chhttisgarh Mukti Morcha's Shaheed Hospital a pioneering effort to effort to set up a health programme and hospital   owned and operated by a workers' organization for the benefit of the  common people Besides being actively associated with the Shaheed Hospital, Dr Sen is a very well respected member of Jan Swasthya Sahyog which is committed to developing a low-cost, effective, community health programme in the tribal and rural areas of Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh. He was also a member of the state advisory committee set up to pilot   the community based health worker  programme across Chhattisgarh  that later became well known as the   Mitanin programme. He also gives his services to a weekly clinic in a tribal community in Dhamtari district.

As General Secreatary of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, he has helped to organize numerous fact finding campaigns into human rights violations in the state including custody deaths,    fake encounters, hunger deaths, dysentery epidemics, malnutrition, and other similar violations. In recent times has worked   intensively to bring large scale oppression and malgovernance within the so called Salwa Judoom in Dantewara to national and international attention. Dr. Sen has regularly spoken to the local and national media on these issues.

Dr Sen  has been contributing theoretical papers to books and journals on public health. He was the recipient   in 2004 of the Paul  Harrison award for  lifetime work medical Care in the service of Humanity, an   award given  annually  by the Christian Medical College Vellore to one of its alumni.

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