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Red Flag
Friday, 18 May 2007
Protests against PUCL activist's arrest
Binayak Sen is the face of protests against the alleged state-sponsored excesses in Chhattisgarh.

He is now in Raipur central jail on charges of supporting naxals. His supporters say he has been victimised for campaigning against the controversial anti-naxal Salwa Judam movement and speaking out against atrocities by members of the group.

But the immediate provocation for the arrest seems to be his meetings with jailed Naxal leader Narayan Sanyal, even though they were under police supervision.

''I was not doing anything secretly. I did in the cause of human rights, not in the interest of CPI Maoist,'' said Dr Binayak Sen, General Secretary, PUCL.

Dr Sen, a pediatrician, has been working for years in the villages of Chhattisgarh, trying to evolve a low cost health plan in a region where there's little or no administrative support.

He is also one of the loudest critics of the Salwa Judum movement and was at the forefront of a campaign by the People's Union for Civil Liberties against fake encounters.

The police of course claim they have enough proof of his Naxal links.

''Unlawful activities will not be allowed in the state. Rule of law will prevail,'' said O P Rathore, DGP, Chhatisgarh.

Civil rights activists say many like Sen have been targetted for criticising the Salwa Judum and have been threatened, intimidated, jailed or even killed.

This was allegedly what happened at Dantewada, where eight villagers were killed in an encounter a fortnight ago.

And PUCL came out with a report that listed 13 other such incidents in the past year.

The outrage has also spread to Delhi, where social activists and politicians have asked the Centre to intervene.

And as more voices join the protests against Dr Sen's arrest, the Chhattisgarh government may find itself facing some very uncomfortable questions in the coming days.

Posted by laljhanda at 6:25 PM
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