Saturday, May 31, 2008

Is Binayak Sen a traitor?

After reading a lot of sympathetic articles about Dr. Binayak Sen in various media forms, one question always remained on top of my mind since no article I read mentioned it in detail. What are the charges against Dr. Sen?
Rediff: Why Dr Binayak Sen must be released
Times Of India: TODAY'S ARTICLE: Respect Civil Rights
The detention of Binayak Sen, a respected doctor and civil rights activist, by the Chhattisgarh government is a blot on our democracy.{How it is a blot is never explained?} The Chhattisgarh police arrested him a year ago under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 on charges of aiding Maoists.

The police have charged Sen, winner of the 2008 Jonathan Mann award for global health and human rights instituted by the Global Health Council, of acting as a courier for Maoists{There are other serious charges too but the lazy jholawalla never bothers to read them}. His appeal for bail has been turned down despite appeals from many public intellectuals across the world, including 22 Nobel laureates{Have they all protested against Gitmo?}. Clearly, the court and police are unwilling to consider his exemplary record as a health and civil rights activist in one of the most underdeveloped regions of the country.{Can an exemplary record of a person save himself from punishment in the court of law? First time I'm hearing this kind of plea-bargain}

The Chhattisgarh government's stance on the issue compromises its responsibility to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Every citizen has a right to speech and association and the government ought to protect these rights.{Is it applicable, when the speech and association both are illegal} Even if one assumes that Sen is sympathetic to Maoist ideology, as alleged by the police, he has a right to uphold his views unless proven to have violated the law in the process{why is the police holding him in jail, for mauj-masti}. He also has a right to a speedy and fair trial. {no special favors for anybody, everybody should be treated the same}Sen is held guilty by association {try 'association' with Islamic jihadis and see the results for yourself} and the government is unwilling to recognise its mistake despite pleas from all around.{plea's by breast-beatings and loud wailings does not count as evidence and facts}

The Chhattisgarh government has a hard task at hand, no doubt. Maoists are a powerful threat and have stretched the resources of the government. Unfortunately, the government's policies to counter them are bad in law and practice. Security measures like Salwa Judum and harassment of political and civil rights activists have only eroded the credibility of the government. A strong civil society that vouchsafes political and economic rights is necessary to expose extremist ideologies like Maoism.

As India sets out to expand its influence in global affairs, its record on civil rights will increasingly be under scrutiny. No government can claim special powers and suspend civil rights like freedom of speech and association. Extremist political groups like Maoists don't thrive because of a liberal legal framework, but they certainly would benefit from its absence.

Sen's trial has now started after a year spent in prison. Scores of similar undertrials languishing in Indian jails fare worse. It just doesn't do any good to India's brand image as a country that protects civil rights. Democracy enhances India's soft power potential on the world stage. However, disregard for democratic rights will take the sheen off India's patchy but promising record as a liberal democracy.

If you read the charges (incl sedition and treason) against Dr. Sen, they are very serious and the law should take its own course but no, strangely the jholawallas want special treatment for Dr. Sen since he is a winner of some humpty-dumpty award and since a few nobel laureates spoke for him, Dr Sen should be freed. What kind of cuckooland they are living in? The insistence of special treatment for Dr Sen, based on wailings and breast-beatings, casts doubts on their claims. Law of the land must be respected and should be equal for everyone, no exceptions. Let the law take it own course. With every passing day, I'm arriving at "When the Indian English Language Media" is your enemy, you are on the right side.

Update: 'Dont lecture us on Binayak Sen': Govt of India
The Indian government has reacted strongly to international appeals for the release of Dr Binayak Sen who is in a Chhattisgarh jail for the past one year, for his alleged links with Naxals.
Senior government sources have told Times Now Binayak Sen is not absolved of his involvement with Naxals. The Court has taken a decision on Sen's bail and now the State Government is the final authority. However, the Government feels that the issue around Dr Binayak Sen is a well orchestrated campaign and just because he is selected for a western award, doesn’t make him less guilty in their view. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the State Government is right in opposing Dr Sen's appeal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments can and will be censored at my whim and fancy.