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27 January, 2011

Martyrs Day rallies in support of Binayak Sen

Various human rights groups have called for observance of Sunday, January 30, as a day of protest against anti-democratic laws and demand the immediate release of Dr. Binayak Sen.

More than a month has passed since a Chhattisgarh court held the noted physician and human rights defender guilty of sedition and sentenced him to life imprisonment. An appeal filed by him is now pending before the state high court. The way the court gave a long adjournment after hearing the arguments of Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Dr. Sen, seeking suspension of the sentence pending disposal of the appeal, is typical of the way our judicial machinery grinds. Apparently the horror expressed by human rights defenders the world over has not persuaded the court to act with a sense of urgency.

Against this background, the planned activities on January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, which is observed nationally as Martyrs Day, assumes special significance.

The specific demands to be raised on that day include immediate release of Dr. Sen, repeal of Section124 (A) IPC (sedition) and the obnoxious provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Armed Forces Special Provisions Act (AFSPA) and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA)

The slogans:
Hum Sab Binayak Sen, Hum Sab Jail Jayenge
(We all are Binayak Sen, We all will go to jail)

Agar Sach Bolna Rajdroh hai, toh hum Sab Rajdrohi hai (If speaking the truth is sedition, we all have committed sedition)
Rallies, meetings, seminars etc are taking place in many places in the country.

Prof. Ilina Sen, wife of Dr. Binayak Sen, writes:

As we celebrate 61 years of India becoming a Socialist Democratic Republic we are shocked to witness that the spirit of our Constitution stands violated every so often today, sacrificing people's democratic rights and throttling the socialist dream of our Constitution makers.

Speaking out against the conviction and incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen's case has to be seen in that larger context of lending our voice against the gross injustice that we witness as a daily happening in India day after day.

Today when we demand his release we must also raise our voice against all those who remain hungry, malnourished, and without secure means of livelihood, as well as those who have been dispossessed, killed, tortured, humiliated, disappeared, threatened, arbitrarily detained and arrested, falsely charged and under surveillance because of their
legitimate work in upholding democratic rights and fundamental freedoms. In the last two days I too have been a victim of this in Wardha, Maharashtra (Central India) where I teach.

Dr. Binayak Sen has completed more than a month in this leg of his imprisonment. The hearing for the suspension of his sentence continues. It is not a testing time for us alone but more for our political and judicial systems, which are on trial for accountability,
rationality, justice and equity.

Finally, I would like to thank all of you for holding our hands in this period of suffering and anguish faced by me, Binayak's mother, daughters, brothers and all his friends.

I would like to end with a verse of Faiz

bol ke lab aazaad haiN tere
bol zabaaN ab tak terii hai
teraa sutvaaN jism hai teraa
bol ke jaaN ab tak terii hai

dekh ke aahaNgar kii dukaaN meN
tuNd haiN shole surKh hai aahan
khulne lage qufloN ke dahaane
phailaa har ek zanjiir kaa daaman
bol ye thoRaa vaqt bahut hai
jism-o-zubaaN kii maut se pahle
bol ke sach ziNdaa hai ab tak
bol jo kuch kehnaa hai keh le

English translation:

Speak up, while your lips (thoughts) are (still) free
speak up, (while) your tongue is still yours
Speak, for your strong body is your own
speak, (while) your soul is still yours

Look at the blacksmiths shop
hot flames makes the iron red hot
opening the (jaws of) locks
every chain opens up and begins to break

Speak, for this brief time is long enough
before your body and words die
speak, for the truth still prevails
speak up, say what you must.


Prof. Ilina Sen,
Mahatma Gandhi Antarashtriya
Hindi Vishwavidyalay,

January 26, 2011

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