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PUCL, May 2007

Dr. Sen: Press conference in Delhi , A team of activists to visit Raipur


Update: 21 May 2007

Today, the seven members national team including the likes of Shri. Prabhash Joshi, Shri Harsh Mander, Shri. Ajit Bhattacharjea, Ms. Kavita Srivastava, Shri. Arun Khote along with other representatives of medical fraternity, Gandhians and people's movements/HR organisations are in Raipur. They are scheduled to have a meeting with the CM, Governor and the Media.. CG media seems to be carrying all the false stories> told to them by the police and the home minister (who has been leading the campaign against "Naxalite Binayak") -- Vijayan


Update 20 May 2007

I/II.

Dear Friends,

There are far too many mails floating around on the topic now and many friends very active on the campaign. This is really a welcome change from the first two days when we were desperate to crack on the campaign front.

The Delhi Press Conf and demo were a great success as many may have noticed. In breaking the national media silence, it did play a major role. Kindly find attached the release to media and the memorandum to the resident commissioner that were prepared for the Delhi progs.

This mail is to give an update to the progs day before yesterday and also to give the good news that atlast we have managed to put together a national team to immediately visit raipur and attempt a meeting with the CM/Home minister and also to hold a press conference there in terms of countering the BJP led media propoganda that is going on in the state.

As of now the team comprises of:

Shri. Prabhash Joshi (senior journalist), Shri. Harsh Mander, Shri. Tapan Kumar Bose (SAFHR), Smt. Kavita Srivastava (PUCL), Shri. Arun Khote (NCDHR), Shri. Ashok Choudhury (NFFPFW) along with two senior members from the Medical Fraternity (from Vellore CMC and Delhi- I request JSA/MFC friends to fill in with the names)...

This team will be in Raipur essentially on the 21st, a day prior to Dr. Sen being produced in court next. Most of the team members will also stay on for the 22nd.

In the meanwhile we have news about the house search of Dr.Ilina and Dr. Binayak going on today. We really have no clue as to what they 'plan to' or hope to gather from there... However, even after three days of efforts, we are yet to even secure a copy of the FIR against Dr. Sen.

Its a shame on Indian Democracy - a Gandhian, social worker rots in jail while the actual criminals who kill the adivasis in Bastar and Dantewara are running the CG state and the government...

-- Regards,

Vijayan MJ

Delhi Solidarity Group

II. Dear Friends,

We are writing on behalf of CMC staff, students, alumni and friends of Binayak to thank you for supporting the petition highlighting Binyak's illegal imprisonment. Ilina (Binyak's wife) and Binayak's family have written to us to convey their gratitude to all who have supported the petition. We have received 1988 signatures that were sent to the President, Prime Minister, Governor of Chhattisgarh, Commissioner of the National Human Right's Commission and other government officials both on Thursday and Saturday. And more are still coming.

Update on Binayak's case

Binayak was produced in the court of the Judicial Magistrate by the police on May 18. The public prosecutor argued for a police remand. This would have meant shifting him out of Raipur Central Jail to a police station. Appearing on behalf of Binayak, Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj argued against a police remand and for continuation of the judicial custody. A bail application made earlier had been rejected. The good news is that the Judge, after keeping everybody in suspense for a number of hours (which Binayak spent in the company of his friends and the police under a tree outside the court), rejected the police's request for a police remand.

His friends say that Binayak appeared to be in good spirits. He was pleased to know all the news about the protests. He is sharing a 10x12 room with 13 other inmates at the jail, but had no complaints about it, as he felt that he was being treated well.

The search of the house on Saturday was uneventful. The police took some papers, books and their computer. Both the police and Ilina videoed the process. They took Binayak back to jail and Ilina and the girls are now at home. He is due to be produced in court on Monday.

In the house search the following documents were taken by the police as per phone conversation with Ilina Sen. (This list will be published by her/PUCL soon).

This is the list is as follows:

1. Article be Vasantha Kannabiram on the womens movement and naxalite movement. This was from Hyderabad. It is a published document.

2. Peoples March a magazine that comes in the post.

3. a hand written note on 'how to build a front against US imperialism'

4. 2 letters from jail that have come through the jail superintendent in the post. One requesting the PUCL to look into conditions in the jail and the other from a maoist prisoner requesting that his case and health be looked into

5 Five CD's that have been made by the PUCL on human rights in Jarkhand and Chattisgarh that have already been distributed.

However The times of India has reported that hundreds of incriminating documents have been seized.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Naxal_papers_found_at_officials_house_Cops/articleshow/2062094.cms (Please counter the point raised by Times of India in your discussions with others)

Efforts to highlight Binayak' case

PUCL and PUDR representatives met with the Home Minister. Protest meetings were held in New Delhi and Jaipur on May 18. A press conference was held on the same day in New Delhi. Alumni of CMC have been active lobbying both within India and abroad.

Activities that are planned

1. Meeting in New Delhi on May 26th on the situation of Civil Liberties in Chhatisgarh. The venue and time are to be finalised.

2. Meeting in Raipur on May 31st All persons who are interested to support Binayak's case are requested to come to register their protest.

We hope that Binayak may be released at the earliest. However we need to be prepared to campaign for the issue as long as it takes. Many people have written asking what they can do.

Here are some suggestions of things that you can do:

a. Talk to local groups that you are connected with and local press regarding Binayak Sen's case.

b. Request more people to support the signature campaign at the following sites:

http://www.petitiononline.com/Binayak/petition.html

c. Write to Ilina and PUCL expressing your support.

E-mail:

Ilina c/o- Jan Swasthya Sahyog- janswasthya@gmail.com

PUCL, Chhattisgarh- pucl.cg@gmail.com

d. Those who are interested and able should try to come to Raipur for the public meeting on May 31.

Issues that you may want to highlight when you talk to groups and the press are:

a. Binayak's 30 year involvement in relation to Primary health care, Mitanin programme, TB, Shaheed hospital of the mine workers in MP and now Chhattisgarh

b. His civil right's work that have brought to light custodial deaths, "encounter deaths", land grabbing, malnutrition deaths and Salwa Judum.

c. His concern about the public health situation particularly in troubled parts of Chhattisgarh. 30,000 people have been displaced and are living in deplorable condition in Salwa Judum Camps set up by the Government. The camps lack basic health facilities and have had severe outbreaks of malaria, gastroenteritis and measles. Many Primary Health Centres have been occupied by the security forces and therefore people are not able to access the health facilities in these camp villages. In villages where people have refused to move out of their villages into these camps, the state government has withdrawn all public health services. The basic health infrastructure has therefore collapsed in over 500 villages of Dantewada district.

d. Binayak is a person who has extended the role of a doctor beyond caring for sick, or dealing with community health problems to the social responsibility of a doctor in times of civil strife. He has shown that a doctor should eschew violence either by the state or revolutionary groups. That when a doctor witnesses infringement of civil liberties it is their responsibility to speak up.

e. The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 (CSPSA) under which he is imprisoned, permits arbitrary detention with no remedy of appeal or review for a maximum period of imprisonment of seven years for any expression or act which the state may deem as disturbing public order.

f. We feel that he is being falsely accused in the context of his human rights work.

g. Please counter the information in Times of India article that incriminating documents have been found.

We request:

a. The safe release of Dr. Binayak Sen and withdrawal of all charges against him.

b. Repeal of laws such as CSPSA, 2006 that are being indiscriminately used to stifle democratic dissent.

c. The need of the Chhattisgarh state Government to provide health care facilities to all people without discrimination.

More information may be obtained at:

www.savebinayak.ukaid.org.uk

http://gyanoprobha.typepad.com/

http://www.pucl.org/

Please let us know if you have any other suggestions or need more information. We will try to keep you informed as more information comes in.

With regards,

Anand Zachariah

Sara Bhattacharji


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