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27 May, 2009

A small step for justice, a giant leap for Binayak!

Satya Sivaraman & Anivar Aravind

‘Bail granted’ - the magical words rung through the crowded supreme court chamber with the full power of an ace footballer’s match clinching shot to the goal.

It took just 30 seconds for Justice Markandeya Katju to dispel what the dark forces of Indian politics, bureaucracy and so called ‘internal security’ had wrought against the good doctor over the past two years

“I am aware of the facts of the case. He has been already in jail for two years’, said the honourable justice, presiding over Dr Sen’s application for bail before the Indian Supreme Court, refusing to hear the prosecution’s arguments. There was no ambiguity in his judgment at all – two years was indeed too much!

It was a small step for the Indian justice system perhaps, but a big leap for Binayak languishing in Raipur jail for what seems ages now- not just arrested on false charges but denied the basic right to bail for so long.

For the thousands of friends, supporters and well-wishers of Dr Sen in India and around the world the Supreme Court’s verdict of 25 May has come like fresh drops of rain in what seemed like a wasteland of injustice.

Their various contributions for Dr Sen’s release – small, big, medium - have all added up to precipitate those drops from what seemed to be an unyielding climate of oppression created by the Indian state’s bogus ‘war on terrorism’. A war in which there are no rules, no norms of decency and no inalienable rights of citizens who come in the crossfire between an extremist state and its extremist foes.

It is testimony to the sheer respect and love that Dr Sen has earned from so many that the campaign for his release has persisted over the past two years without ever giving up. There have been times of course when its morale may have sagged a bit but this was always amply made up for by the repeated surge of struggles all around the world, which have made this campaign unprecedented in the annals of the Indian civil rights movement.

The granting of bail is the first sweet victory in a much bitter battle ahead- a battle that will need all the creative energies, enthusiasm and motivation that has sustained the campaign so far. We need to see this story to its only possible end- the complete withdrawal of the false charges foisted on Dr Sen or his acquittal by the Indian courts of these charges and - may we demand -even compensation for the injustice done to him. Courtesy:

Satya Sivaraman & Anivar Aravind are editors of

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