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March to the Indian Consulate: Free Binayak Sen

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
9:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Event Type:
Sanjeev Mahajan
Location Details:
Consulate General of India 540 Arguello Boulevard San Francisco CA 94118


Free Binayak Sen!

Disband Salwa Judum! Repeal Repressive Laws!


Protest harassment of Human Rights Activists!


May 13th 2008 marks one year of imprisonment for Dr Binayak Sen, pediatrician, public health specialist and national Vice-President of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

Dr. Sen, an activist with a lifelong commitment to the issues of community health and human rights, was arrested on false charges of sedition, thus joining dozens of other human rights activists in Indian jails, charged under repressive "Black Laws."

Dr. Sen earned the ire of the government for opposing Salwa Judum, a private militia movement armed by the Government to combat 'Maoist insurgency'. Salwa Judum has led to a spiraling increase in violence that has displaced over 100,000 tribals.



May 13th TUESDAY

9:30 a.m.

In front of

Consulate General of India

540 Arguello Boulevard

San Francisco, CA 94118


for more information, visit:

Who is Binayak Sen?

Dr Binayak Sen is a paediatrician, public health specialist and national Vice-President of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). Dr Sen is noted for extending health care to the poorest people, monitoring the health and nutrition status of the people of Chhattisgarh, and defending the human rights of indigenous tribal and other marginalized communities. On 21 April 2008, the Global Health Council announced that Dr. Binayak Sen had been selected for the highest international honour in Global Health and Human Rights, the Jonathan Mann Award for 2008.

Why is he imprisoned?binayak248.jpg

Dr. Sen had been providing medical treatment to Narayan Sanyal, a detained Naxalite leader, in the Raipur jail. Even though his meetings with Sanyal were conducted with the permission of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, and under close supervision of jail authorities, Dr. Sen was detained and charged with aiding and abetting Narayan Sanyal and supporting anti-national activities. Dr. Sen was detained under provisions of the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2006 (CSPSA), and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).

Why are UAPA and CSPSA called Black Laws?

The CSPSA dramatically broadens the ambit of what is deemed 'unlawful'. It criminalizes all organizations whose actions may have the merest tendency to disturb public order, and all individuals who have any type of association with such organizations. The CSPSA makes it illegal for the press to even report on activities of organizations deemed unlawful. The UAPA, amended in 2004 to include provisions from the dreaded POTA, greatly increases the State's power to imprison people for extended periods of time without trial and without providing any evidence of guilt. Both these legislations, in the name of combating violent movements, actually target all people's movements, journalists and human rights activists, and all other formations questioning the State's policies.

These laws are increasingly being used to silence voices critical of the government. Other activists recently arrested under these draconian laws are Lachit Bordoloi, a human rights activist from Assam; Prashant Rahi, journalist from Uttarakhand; Govindan Kutty, editor of People's March in Kerala; Praful Jha, a journalist from Chhattisgarh; Vernon Gonsalves, an activist from Nasik; Arun Ferreira, Ashok Reddy, and Dhanendra Bhurule, and most recently Ajay TG, another activist with PUCL, Chhattisgarh.


Lachit Bordoloi


Vernon Gonsalves


Arun Ferreira


Ajay TG

Why is the government fabricating charges against Binayak Sen?

Binayak Sen earned the government's ire by being a fierce critic of the high-handed and illegal ways that the government is using to put down a Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh. Dr. Sen participated in many investigations which drew attention to severe human rights violations, including murder of unarmed and demonstrably innocent civilians by the police, and the "Salwa Judum" - a government-backed vigilante group active in Southern Chhattisgarh.

For instance, Dr. Sen's and PUCL's investigations had exposed that 12 alleged Maoists, killed by the police in Santoshpur village in a supposed gunfight on 31st March, 2007, were actually tribals executed at close range. The State Human Rights Commission took note of this investigation, and ordered the bodies of the victims exhumed. A few days later, Dr. Sen was detained and remains in prison.

What is Salwa Judum?

Salwa Judum is a vigilante movement in Southern Chhattisgarh that has been armed and supported by the Government of Chhattisgarh, and the Home Ministry since June 2005, apparently in order to combat the Maoist insurgeny.

The policy of arming a civilian militia has escalated the level of violence and a civil war like situation has emerged with innocent citizens caught between the Naxalites and the Salwa Judum. Over 100,000 people have been displaced and hundreds of villages have been abandoned and those displaced and others forcibly picked up from their villages, have been confined into roadside 'relief camps', where they face acute shortage of food, water and other basic amenities. These parts of Chhattisgarh are also the most mineral-rich parts of the country, and it is believed that several corporate houses are in talks with the government to acquire these lands.


Salwa Judum Vigilantes

Dr. Sen had been a vocal opponent of the Government's policy of arming Salwa Judum, and had organized fact-finding teams to visit the area and bring the harsh living conditions to light. Recenlty, the Supreme Court of India also issued a strong disapproval of the State's backing of Salwa Judum.

What can I do to help?

* Educate yourself about the issue. Check out,

* Attend the protest in front of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on May 13. If you are in another city, check to see if an event is being organized in your city on May 13/14.

* Sign a petition to release Binayak Sen

* Ask your organizations to endorse an International Appeal of Solidarity with Binayak Sen

* Write articles about the issue in local newspapers, try to raise the issue in local media.

* If you can help in organizing local events around this issue, or want more information, write to

Added to the calendar on Fri, May 9, 2008 11:41AM
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