Activists of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) staged a demonstration outside a Chhattisgarh Government facility in New Delhi protesting the arrest of a renowned doctor Binayak Sen for allegedly sympathizing with the Naxals in Chhattisgarh.
Sen, a paediatrician has been working in the villages of Chhattisgarh to evolve a low cost health plan for the locals. He is also one of the most vociferous critics of the Salwa Judum movement - the government-sponsored movement to counter the Naxals.
Police had arrested Sen under the Special Public Security Act 2005 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, citing he had supported the Naxals operating in the State.
"Binayak's arrest on the pretext of support to Naxals, sends a signal that anyone advocating for human rights of the Naxals, would be crushed, and put behind bars," said Prashant Bhushan, a Supreme Court lawyer.
Sen's supporters said that the doctor has been victimized for criticizing the Salwa Jadum movement.
"What has happened to him is a very dangerous signal for all of us as we are beginning to see the results of a society that is becoming a police society, where every problem is approached as a military problem. This is happening in Northeast where the public security act, the armed forces special powers act are enforced," said Arundhati Roy, Booker prize-winning writer and social activist.
The Army has taken over security of northeast, Kashmir and now in Chhattisgarh. Very soon it will be called in Andhra Pradesh as well, we are going to have a society where there is no such thing like civil rights or human rights, and democracy. We have all the institutions but they have all been hollowed out," said Roy.
Roy further said that Chhattisgarh is one of the worst affected states by Naxal violence. Over 40,000 tribal people have been moved to inadequate government camps in the state. A human rights group says there is an "unacknowledged civil war" in the area
The Naxal movement has intensified over the last two years and is beginning to attract national and international attention.