Binayak Sen in Wardha, 2011
Born 4 January 1950 Residence Katora Talab, Raipur Nationality Indian Education MBBS and MD (Paediatrics) Alma mater Calcutta Boys' School, Kolkata
Christian Medical College, Vellore.
Occupation Physician, Activist Organization People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Taught at JNU Delhi for 2 years
Known for Human rights activism Home town Kalyani, West Bengal Religion Hinduism Criminal charge Sedition Criminal penalty Life imprisonment Spouse Illina Sen Awards Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights (2008)
He has been accused of sedition by the Chhattisgarh Government. He was granted bail on 15 April 2011 by the Supreme Court of India which said no evidence of sedition had been produced against the accused by the Chhattisgarh Government. The final verdict is still pending and the case, including charges of sedition,will be carried forward in the High Court of Chhattisgarh.
Binayak Sen originally started working as a pediatrician extending health care to poor people in the rural-tribal areas of the Chhattisgarh state, doubling up as a human rights activist. While Sen has worked with the state government on health sector reform he has also strongly criticized the government on human rights violations during the anti-Naxalite operations, while advocating non-violent political engagement. In May 2007, he was detained for allegedly supporting the outlawed Naxalites, thereby violating the provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967. The evidence presented against him included his meetings with the jailed Naxalite leader Narayan Sanyal and certain documents allegedly supporting his links with the Naxalites. Sen first applied for bail before the Raipur Sessions Court and then the Chhattisgarh High Court in July 2007, soon after his arrest, but was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India only on 25 May 2009.
On 24 December 2010, the Raipur Sessions' Court found him guilty of helping the Naxalites, a communist terrorist group, charged him with connections with a banned organization (though widely but incorrectly the charge was reported as treason by the media) and sentenced him to life term. The conviction was criticized by his supporters as politically motivated and based on bogus evidence. Sen is considered by Amnesty International to be a prisoner of conscience. On 15 April 2011, the Supreme Court of India granted bail to Sen.
- 1 Career as a doctor
- 2 PUCL activist
- 3 Awards and honours
- 4 Allegations of Naxalite links
- 5 See also
- 6 Publications
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Career as a doctor
Binayak Sen and his wife Illina Sen played key roles in the foundation of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha's Shaheed Hospital which is owned and operated by a workers' organization and a community-based NGO called Rupantar. He is also an advisor to Jan Swasthya Sahyog, a health care organization. He has also been published in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet (in its edition of 12 February 2011) where he talks about the severe inaccessibility of the healthcare to the poor in India. The article was hailed as reaffirmation of support to Dr Sen by the international community by Ilina Sen.
Sen is the National Vice-President of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and General Secretary of its Chhattisgarh unit. In this capacity, he helped organize numerous investigations into alleged human rights violations carried out during anti-Naxalite operations. The alleged violations included the murder of unarmed and innocent civilians by the anti-Naxalite movement Salwa Judum.
In a 2008 interview, Sen stated that he does not condone the Naxalites, does not approve of their violent methods, and has spoken strongly against them several times. But, he also expressed his opposition to the violent activities carried out by Salwa Judum, which he believes, have created a split in the tribal community. Sen advocates peaceful methods such as negotiations to solve the Naxalite problem.
Awards and honours
Sen was the recipient in 2004 of the Paul Harrison award for a lifetime of service to the rural poor. This award is given annually by the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India to its alumni.
Sen was awarded the R.R. Keithan Gold Medal by The Indian Academy of Social Sciences (ISSA) on 31 December 2007. The citation describes him as "one of the most eminent scientists" of India. "The award is for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of science of Nature-Man-Society and his honest and sincere application for the improvement of quality of life of the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed people of Chhattisgarh." His "suffering and personal risk" would inspire scientists as well as the general public for a very long time, according to the citation.
Sen was selected for the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in 2008. The Global Health Council issued a public statement, "Dr. Sen's accomplishments speak volumes about what can be achieved in very poor areas when health practitioners are also committed community leaders. He staffed a hospital created by and funded by impoverished mine workers, and he has spent his lifetime educating people about health practices and civil liberties—providing information that has saved lives and improved conditions for thousands of people. His good works need to be recognized as a major contribution to India and to global health; they are certainly not a threat to state security."
Sen has been awarded the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2011 in memory of the Gwangju Democratization Movement of South Korea. The award announcement remarks "Dr Sen, as an accomplished medical practitioner has distinguished himself by his devotion to providing health services for the poor and by his strong advocacy against human rights violations and structural violence inflicted on the poor in Chhattisgarh, a state in central India."
Arrest in 2007
On 14 May 2007, Sen was arrested in Bilaspur on the charges of acting as a courier between jailed Naxalite leader Narayan Sanyal and businessman Piyush Guha, also accused of having links with Naxalites. Sen had met the 70-year-old Sanyal 33 times in Raipur jail, though all the visits were with prior police permission. The Chhattisgarh police also reportedly relied on certain electronic documents to establish a link between Sen and Naxalites.
The evidence presented against Sen included:
- A post card dated 3 June 2006, written by Narayan Sanyal to Binayak Sen from Raipur Central Jail, regarding his health and legal case, duly signed by the Jail authorities
- A yellow coloured book "On The Unity Between CPI (Peoples' War) and Maoist Communist Centre".
- A letter written by Madanlal Banjare of CPI (Maoist) to Binayak Sen.
- An article titled "Krantikari Janwadi Morcha (ITF) (Revolutionary People's Front) Vaishvikaran evam Bharatiya Seva Kshetra; (Globalization and the Service Sector in India)
- Two articles titled "Naxal Movement, Tribals and Women's Movement" and "How to build an Anti-US Imperialist Front."
On 15 May 2007, Sen was presented before a local court where he was denied the bail and was remanded to judicial custody. On 18 May, he was produced in the Sessions Court, Raipur. The Court ordered a search of Sen's house at Katora Talab in Raipur in presence of independent witnesses and his wife, Ilina Sen. The search was conducted lawfully the next day. His bail plea was again rejected on 25 May denied, as the Chhattisgarh Police claimed that he was a threat to the security of the State. He has been granted bail on 15 April by the Supreme Court of India.
From 26 May to 4 June 2007, the supporters of Binayak Sen organized a series of rallies in several cities including Raipur, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, London, Boston and New York, to protest against his arrest. Various delegations of physicians and human rights activists meet chief secretary and law secretary to appeal for Sen's release. The people who were against the bail to Binayak Sen claimed that the protestors were not well versed with the workings of Binayak Sen or the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency.
On 7 June 2007, Sen's wife Ilina Sen wrote a letter to the National Human Rights Commission, stating that the couple's work "has always been in the public sphere and completely overboard [above board] for the last 20 years and more." It protests "the malafide intent of the state of Chhattisgarh in first identifying its victims, and then seeking to build up concocted cases against them." The submission apprehends a campaign of "media vilification" against Ilina Sen.
Amnesty International, which saw the arrest as harassment of a human rights activist, declared his detention in breach of international law. It issued a call to the Government of Chhattisgarh to immediately release Sen, unless he could be charged with a cognizable offence.
On 7 June 2007, the British House of Commons published an Early Day Motion entitled "Arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen" supported by several Members of Parliament across party lines, including Diane Abbott (Labour), Peter Bottomley (Conservative), John Hemming (Liberal Democrat), Dai Davies (Independent, Wales), Mike Weir (Scottish NP), among others.
On 9 June 2007, the British Medical Journal published an article about Sen's arrest. It states that Ramesh Gopalakrishnan, of Amnesty International, offered the following comment to BMJ about the supposed charges: "These offences allow sweeping interpretations of criminal intent. Activists in India are arrested all the time on such charges, which give wide, arbitrary powers to police." The same BMJ article reports a protest, outside the Indian High Commission in London, whose organiser is quoted as saying, "Dr Sen is a champion of peace and fair play and an internationally respected medical doctor who has devoted his whole life to peaceful service of the poorest people. He should be released immediately."
Noam Chomsky and several other prominent figures issued a press statement dated 16 June 2007 alleging that "Dr Sen's arrest is clearly an attempt to intimidate PUCL and other democratic voices that have been speaking out against human rights violations in the state."
On 20 June 2007 a delegation from the PUCL met the Chief Minister (CM) of Chhattisgarh state, and objected to Sen being accused of supporting the Naxalites. The delegation insisted that Sen's visits to the jailed Naxalite Narayan Sanyal were for the latter's "medical treatment" and also regarding his legal case. They pointed out that these visits took place in the Raipur jail, following procedures laid down in the jail manual." The PUCL delegation also raised objections about the analysis of Sen's computer in the absence of Sen’s advocate and the independent court-appointed witness which they said could have offered the chance to tamper with evidence. The court had ordered on 22 May 2007 that both these observers should be present during the examination of Sen's computer. Nobel laurate economist and thinker Amartya Sen also criticised the Dec 2010 verdict for Sen's imprisonment. He stated that instead of getting his due honor for his service, Sen had met with an unfortunate verdict.
On 23 July, lawyers of Binayak Sen approached the Chhattisgarh High Court at Bilaspur with the bail plea of his but it was rejected. Police claimed that they had got incriminating evidences against Binayk Sen from his hard disc belonging to him.
On 3 August 2007, Chhattisgarh Police filed charge-sheets under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Satyabhama Dubey against Sen.
On 31 August 2007 the Supreme Court of India issued notice to the Chhattisgarh government on a petition seeking Sen's release from alleged illegal detention. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhan and V. S. Sirpurkar sought a response from the Chhattisgarh government after senior counsel Soli Sorabjee claimed that Sen was illegally detained since 14 May on fabricated charges of supporting Naxalites. The same report stated that the Director General of Police (DGP) in Chhattisgarh had conceded Sen's peaceful approach. However, the DGP rejected the suggestion that Sen had been arrested for criticising crimes such as extrajudicial killings in staged "fake encounters". The DGP has stated his belief that "Dalits movements, women empowerment movements, human rights movements, environment protection movements" are all suspect because Naxalites want to penetrate and hijack "movements not linked with CPI (Maoist)."
On 10 December 2007, Supreme Court dismissed Sen's bail petition. A Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhan and D K Jain refused to accept Sen's plea, at this stage, that he was only an activist of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and was in no way connected with the banned outfit CPI-ML. On the point that that there was no evidence to suggest that he was involved in naxal activities, Bench while rejecting the same said "You are emphasising too much on PUCL. This does not mean that you are immune. This also does not mean your are not associated with banned activities."
Sen was kept in solitary confinement during the period from 15 March to 11 April 2008. The prison authorities stated that this was for his security. Sen's wife Ilina stated that he has been isolated from the world during his year of imprisonment, with access to only pro-government newspaper.
On 29 April 2008, Human Rights Watch in New York issued a public statement regarding the trial of Sen due to begin in Raipur on 30 April 2008: "the district court’s limit of one supporter of the defendant at the trial is unnecessarily restrictive and raises broader concerns about the fairness of the trial."
The Global Health Council, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and several other prominent global health organizations issued a joint statement of support for Sen, requesting that Indian authorities allow the doctor to receive the Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights in person in Washington, D.C. on 29 May 2008, at the 35th Annual International Conference on Global Health. The declaration stated: "We would also like to convey our concern and dismay that Dr. Sen remains imprisoned, after nearly one year without trial, on allegations that he passed notes from a rebel leader whom he treated in jail to a person outside the prison. Dr. Sen has denied all wrong doing and nothing in his character or history, as a dedicated community leader who has urged a peaceful settlement to this conflict for years, would support the accusations made against him. These allegations have not been substantiated or proven and have prevented Dr. Sen from providing his much-needed health services to the poor in his area, as well as his community leadership activities as an officer of the People's Union for Civil Liberties."
Twenty-two Nobel laureates from around the world wrote to India's President and Prime Minister and Chhattisgarh state authorities. They said Sen should be allowed to travel to the US to receive the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. "We also wish to express grave concern that Dr Sen appears to be incarcerated solely for peacefully exercising his fundamental human rights," the letter said. This is "in contravention of Articles 19 (freedom of opinion and expression) and 22 (freedom of association) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which India is a state party – and that he is charged under two internal security laws that do not comport with international human rights standards," it added.
Doctors across India started holding free clinics for the poor in tribute to the example of Sen and to peacefully campaign for his release.
The Government of India led by the Indian National Congress which is the opposition party in the state of Chhattisgarh reacted strongly to international appeals for the release of Dr Binayak Sen. 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, does not 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.
The trial against Binayak Sen began in the trial court in Raipur on 30 May 2008. On 4 May 2008, Supreme Court issued notice to Chhattisgarh government on Sen's bail plea. It asked the state government to provide "best medical aid" to Sen, who is suffering from a heart ailment.
Grant of bail by the Supreme Court
Sen was granted bail on 25 May 2009 by a vacation bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Deepak Verma as his health conditions were deteriorating.
Conviction, sentencing and revocation of bail
On 24 December 2010, the Additional Sessions and District Court Judge B.P Varma Raipur found Binayak Sen, Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha, guilty of sedition for helping the Maoists in their fight against the state. They were sentenced to life imprisonment. Immediately after the sentencing, Dr. Sen's bail was revoked and he was taken back into custody.
Binayak Sen was held guilty under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, of being a conduit between Naxals and of meeting Narayan Sanyal in jail. The trio has also been convicted under provisions of section 124A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) (sedition) and 120-B Indian Penal Code (conspiracy).
Against this judgement, Binayak again applied for bail on 6 Jan 2011. Sen's lawyer Ram Jethmalani argued for over two hours for grant of bail on 24 Jan 2011, and described the trial court verdict as one based only on police versions. An eight-member delegation of the European Union were present at the court during the entire hearing. On 25 Jan 2011, the Chhattisgarh High Court heard his bail plea for the second consecutive day and then fixed 9 February for the next hearing. The court denied bail to him during the subsequent hearing. The Copy of the judgment is available at.
Dr. Sen had moved the apex court challenging the order of the Chhattisgarh High Court which had rejected his bail plea on 10 February 2011. Dr. Sen has sought bail contending that the trial court has erred in convicting him as there was no substantial evidence against him. Human rights and social activists have described Dr. Sen’s conviction and sentence as “politically motivated.”
The Supreme Court on 11 March 2011 issued notice to the Chhattisgarh government on a petition by rights activist Binayak Sen seeking bail and stay on his life imprisonment imposed by a sessions court for his links with Maoists. A bench of justices H.S. Bedi and C.K. Prasad asked the Chhattisgarh government to file its response within four weeks. The bench passed the order despite counsel for Dr. Sen seeking adjournment of the matter. On 15 April 2011, the Supreme Court of India has granted bail to Dr. Binayak Sen was granted bail, after completely questioning the sedition charge against him and adding that “the question of passing letters or documents does not arise.” However the apex court said it was giving no reason for granting bail to 61-year-old Sen and left it to the satisfaction of the trial court concerned to impose the conditions for his release on bail.
- People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
- Trial of Binayak Sen
- Sudhir Dhawale
- Kartam Joga
- Minnie Vaid (2011) A Doctor to Defend: The Binayak Sen Story. Publisher: Rajpal PP: 243 ISBN – 9788170289272
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- ^ Anjana Pasricha (10 February 2011). "Indian Court Denies Bail to Indian Doctor Jailed For Life". Voice of America. http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Indian-Court-Denies-Bail-to-Indian-Doctor-Jailed-For-Life-115714314.html. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
- ^ "Pijush Piyush Babun Guha vs State Of Chhattisgarh on 10 February, 2011". Indiankanoon.org. http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/697090/. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ PTI (5 March 2011). "Supreme Court to hear Binayak Sen’s bail plea on March 11". The Hindu. India. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1512109.ece. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "SC notice to Chhattisgarh govt in Binayak Sen case". Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. 12 March 2011. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-03-12/news/28683850_1_links-with-maoist-ideologue-kolkata-businessman-piyush-guha-binayak-sen. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "SC issues notice to Ch'garh HC in Binayak case". Hindustan Times. India. 11 March 2011. http://www.hindustantimes.com/SC-issues-notice-to-Ch-garh-HC-in-Binayak-case/Article1-672026.aspx. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "SC grants bail to Binayak Sen". Timesnow.tv. 15 April 2011. http://www.timesnow.tv/SC-grants-bail-to-Binayak-Sen/articleshow/4370495.cms. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "SC bail to Binayak Sen, questions conviction for sedition". Deccan Herald. India. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/153747/supreme-court-grants-bail-binayak.html. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "SC grants bail to Binayak Sen, says no case for sedition charge". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 15 April 2011. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/SC-grants-bail-to-Binayak-Sen-drops-sedition-charges-against-him/articleshow/7987813.cms. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "A lesson in justice for Chhattisgarh". The Hindu. India. 18 April 2011. http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/18/stories/2011041851811000.htm. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "Times Now: SC grants bail to Binayak Sen – 15 Apr 2011". Timesnow.tv. 15 April 2011. http://www.timesnow.tv/SC-grants-bail-to-Binayak-Sen/articleshow/4370495.cms. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "Binayak Sen's bail plea: High court reserves order". ummid.com. http://www.ummid.com/news/2011/February/09.02.2011/court_verdict_on_binayak_sen.htm. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "Human rights activist Binayak Sen gets life for 'treason'". Deccan Herald. India. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/123349/human-rights-activist-binayak-sen.html. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ The Times Of India (India). http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-01-05/ludhiana/28363522_1_binayak-sen-ngo-human-right-activist.
- ^ "Global Action « Free Binayak Sen". Freebinayaksen.org. http://www.freebinayaksen.org/?page_id=623. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "Going to "see" how courts handle Binayak Sen case: UN official". Zeenews.com. 21 January 2011. http://www.zeenews.com/news682229.html. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "EU observers to watch Binayak Sen’s trial". Zeenews.com. 23 January 2011. http://www.zeenews.com/news682542.html. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "EU team attends Binayak Sen's bail hearing – Rediff.com India News". Rediff.com. http://www.rediff.com/news/report/eu-team-attends-binayak-sens-bail-hearing/20110124.htm. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ The Times Of India (India). http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-10/india/29402958_1_eu-delegation-sedition-proceedings.
- ^ "Sentencing of Dr. Binayak Sen to life imprisonment – FIDH – Worldwide Human Rights Movement". FIDH. http://www.fidh.org/Sentencing-of-Dr-Binayak-Sen-to-life-imprisonment. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- ^ "‘I am not in competition with Modi or any other chief minister’". The Indian Express. India. 15 May 2011. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/i-am-not-in-competition-with-modi-or-any-other-chief-minister/791035/0. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Free Binayak Sen Campaign Website
- Truth of binayak sen in hindi
- Medico Friends Circle Booklet on Dr. Binayak Sen
- Website for campaign to free Dr. Binayak Sen
- Binayak Sen Sentenced to Life in Prison in Widely Criticized Ruling – video report by Democracy Now!
- At The Heart Of It with Shoma Chaudhury of Tehelka – 10 Feb 2011 – The Binayak Sen Sentence
Gwangju Prize for Human Rights laureates
Xanana Gusmão (2000) • Basil Fernando (2001) • Korean Association of Bereaved Families for Democracy (2002) • Dandeniya Gamage Jayanthi (2003) • Aung San Suu Kyi (2004) • Wardah Hafidz (2005) • Malalai Joya (2006) • Angkhana Neelaphaijit (2006) • Irom Chanu Sharmila (2007) • Lenin Raghuvanshi (2007) • Munir A. Malik (2008) • Min Ko Naing (2009) • Sushil Pyakurel (2010) • Binayak Sen (2011)
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Binayak sen — est un pédiatre et membre éminent de l Union populaire pour les libertés publiques, l une des principales organisations de défense des droits de l homme en Inde, basée dans l État de Chhattisgarh en Inde. Le Dr Sen est connu pour son action en… … Wikipédia en Français
Binayak Sen — en 2009 Binayak Sen est un pédiatre et membre éminent de l Union populaire pour les libertés publiques, l une des principales organisations de défense des droits de l homme en Inde, basée dans l État de Chhattisgarh en Inde. Arrêté en 2007 et… … Wikipédia en Français
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