For all those concerned with the continued incarceration of Dr Binayak Sen, who continues to languish in a jail in Chhattisgarh on charges of being a “naxal”, please sign this online petition.
Dr Binayak Sen is a paediatrician, public health specialist and national vice president of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties who decided to make his home in Chhattisgarh bringing medical facilities to the tribals and dispossessed. For the last two years a near civil war situation has been prevailing in Chhattisgarh as a ‘spontaneous’ militia called the Salwa Judum has been waging a war of attrition with the extreme left wing Maoists in the jungles of Chhattisgarh.
It is widely believed that Salwa Judum is a front for government and acts on behest of the police-contractor-business nexus in terrorrising villagers and forcing them to leave their villages in order to depopulate whole areas to deprieve the Maoists of local support. This makes it easier for the police and the militia to hunt them down. There are reliable reports that whole villages have been forced into gated camps, though you won’t get to read these in the mainstream media.
Dr Sen criticised the role of the Salwa Judum and the human rights excesses of the police in Chattisgarh. For his efforts he was charged with ‘aiding and abetting naxal activity in the state’ under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2004.
The ‘red scare’ has reached ridiculous proportions. People today can be branded ‘Maoist sympathisers’ simply by the act of possessing ‘appropriate literature’. This means that if I possess a copy of the Das Kapital or the writings of Lenin or Mao I could be arrested. I don’t subscribe to Maoist ideology. In fact I have many disagreements with them, but I don’t believe that anyone who reads Maoist literature or even supports them should be arrested on a whim and thrown in jail.
Many civil society organisations are involved in campaigning on behalf of Binayak Sen. I will post updates as and when they happen.