Friday, June 1, 2007

நீ எங்கள் பக்கம் இல்லையென்றால் பயங்கரவாதிகளின் பக்கம் இருப்பதாக அர்த்தம்

ட்டுப்பாடில்லாத வரை எந்த ஒரு அடக்குமுறை வடிவத்தின் உண்மை முகமும் வெளித் தெரிவதில்லை. எல்லாம் கிடைக்கும் வரை இன்றைய குடும்ப என்கிற அடக்குமுறை வடிவம் கூட மிக இனிமையானதாகவே இருக்கிறது. ஏதாவது ஒரு விசயத்தில் தட்டுப்பாடு ஏற்ப்படும் போது அந்த அடக்குமுறை தனது உண்மை முகத்தை காட்டுகிறது போலியாக கிடைத்து வந்த சலுகைகளும், சுதந்திரமும் பறிக்கப்படுகிறது.

இதே நிலைதான் அரசு என்ற வடிவத்துக்கும். மறுகாலனியச் சூழலில் பிரச்சனைகள் பெருக பெருக மக்கள் ஆங்காங்கே நேரடியாக அரசுடன் யுத்தம் நடத்தி வருகிறார்கள். நேற்றைய காலங்களில் வழங்கப்பட்ட, நடுத்தர வர்க்க அறிவு ஜீவிகள் விதந்தோம்பி வரும் சொற்ப ஜனநாயக உரிமைகள் இன்றைய நெருக்கடியான நிலைகளை சமாளிக்க பெருத்த இடைஞ்சலாக அரசின் முன் வந்து நிற்கிறது. அந்த பேயரளவிலான உரிமைகளையும் குப்பைத் தொட்டியில் கடாசுகிறது அரசு.

போலி என்கௌண்டர்கள், மோசடி பேர்வழிகளைப் பற்றி மேடைப் போட்டு பேச தடை, வால் போஸ்டர் ஒட்டினால் தேசத் துரோக சட்டத்தில் கைது, மத நல்லிணக்கம் குறித்து பேசினால் அதற்க்கும் தடை, மக்கள் பிரச்சனைகளுக்கு போராடினால் பதிலுக்கு குண்டாந்தடிகளே வருகின்றன. இப்படி உருமாறி தனது சுயரூபம் காட்டி வரும் மறுகாலனியத்தின் இன்னுமொரு விளைவாக பின்வரும் விசயம் நடந்துள்ளது.

மருத்துவர் பினாயக் சென்(Binayak Sen) என்பவரை அவர் மாவோயிஸ்டுகளுடன் தொடர்பில் உள்ளவர் என்பதாக கூறி கைது செய்துள்ளது போலீஸ். சட்டிஸ்கரில் மிகவும் மதிக்கப்படும் ஒரு ஆளுமை இவர். சட்டிஸ்கரில் அவர் ஒரு முக்கியமான மனித உரிமை போராளி (PUCL), பல்வேறு மனித உரிமை மீறல்கள் குறித்து வெளிக் கொண்டுவந்தவர். காவல் நிலைய மரணங்கள், போலி என்கௌண்டர்கள், பட்டினிச் சாவுகள், வயிற்றுப் போக்கு ஊட்டச் சத்து குறைப்பாடு உள்ளிட்ட பல்வேறு மக்கள் பிரச்சனைகளை வெளி உலகின் பார்வைக்கு கொண்டு வந்தவர். சல்வாஜுடம் என்ற பெயரில் சட்டீஸ்கர் அரசு தனது சொந்த மக்கள் மீது ஏவிவிட்டுள்ள அடக்குமுறை போரின் கோர பக்கங்களை (கிராமத்தோடு மக்களை மிரட்டி நிவாரன முகாம்களில் அடைத்து வைப்பது, வீடுகள், நிலங்களை தீயிட்டு கொளுத்துவது முதல் பல்வேறு கொடுமைகள்) வெளிக் கொண்டு வந்ததில் முக்கியமானவர் இவர்.

அவரை கைது செய்த பின் அவருடைய வீட்டை சோதனையிட்ட போலீஸு அமெரிக்க ஏகாதிபத்திய எதிர்ப்பு நோட்டிஸ்கள் சிலவும், மாதன் என்கிற மாவோயிஸ்டு தலைவரிடமிருந்து வந்த ஒரு கடிதமும் எடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. அந்த கடிதத்தில் ரய்ப்பூர் சிறையில் அடைத்து வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ள மாவொயிஸ்டுகளின் படு மோசமான நிலையை எடுத்து கூறி அதற்க்கு PUCL மூலம் இந்த கொடுமைக்கு எதிராக ஏதாவது நடவடிக்கை எடுத்து உதவுமாறு கேட்டுக் கொள்கிறது. அந்த கடித்ததில் அன்பு தோழர் பினாயக் சென் என்று குறிப்பிட்டிருந்ததுதான் பிரச்சனைக்கு காரணமே. இது தவிர்த்து 30 முறை நாராயன் சண்யால் என்ற மாவோயிஸ்ட் தலைவரை சிறையில் சென்று சந்தித்தார் இவர் என்பதுதான் இன்னொரு மிக முக்கிய குற்றச்சாட்டு.

பிரஃபுல் பிட்வய்(praful bidwai) என்பவர் இந்த குற்றச்சாட்டுகள் அடி முட்டாள்தனமானவை என்கிறார். "அரசு அதிகாரிகளின் அனுமதியுடன், ஜெயிலரின் மேற்பார்வையிலேயே சிறையில் இருந்த நாராயனை சந்தித்துள்ளார் சென். சிறையில் இருக்கும் ஒருவரை பார்த்து அவர்து அடிப்படை உரிமைகளை உறுதிப்படுத்துவது சென்னிடைய சட்டப்பூர்வமாக அனுமதிக்கப்பட்ட ஒரு செயல்பாடே. அப்படியிருக்க 35 முறை பார்த்தார், 100 முறை பார்த்தார் என்ற கணக்கெல்லாம் அர்த்தமற்றது" என்கிறார்.

அமெரிக்க கோக்கே வெளியேறு என்று வால்போஸ்டர் ஒட்டினாலே தேசத் துரோகம் எனும் போது மாவொயிஸ்டுகள் தோழர் என்று விளித்து எழுதிய கடிதத்தை வைத்திருந்தால் அது உண்மையிலேயெ இந்த அரசின் வரையறைப்படி மரண தண்டனை கொடுக்க தகுந்த தேசத் தூரொகம்தான். அவர்களை சிறையில் சந்தித்தாலோ அதைவிட பெருத்த குற்றம். ஆயினும் 1947க்கு முன்பு நம்மை நேரடியாக ஆட்சி செய்த பிரிட்டிஸ்க்காரன் கூட இந்தளவுக்கு கடுமையாக தனது நலனை பேணிப் பாதுகாக்கவில்லை. அடிவருடி அரசோ தனது அடிமை சேவகத்தை ஓவர் ரியாக்ஸனாக வெளிப்படுத்துகிறது.

பாசிசம் முதலாளித்துவத்தின் உண்மை உருவம். அதுவும் முதலாளித்துவத்தின் உச்ச கட்டமான(கடைசி கட்டமல்ல) ஏகாதிபத்திய காலத்தில் பாசிசம் இன்னும் கோடூரமாக வெளிவருகிறது. 'எந்த ஒரு நாட்டையும் அடிமைப்படுத்தியுள்ள நாடு தன்னளவில் சுதந்திரமானதாக இருக்காது'. இந்த உண்மையும் வேறெந்த காலத்தையும் விட இன்றைய மறுகாலனியாதிக்க சூழலில் பேருண்மையாய் வெளி வருகிறது. ஏகாதிபத்திய நாடுகள் இந்தியா போன்ற நாடுகளில் தமது சுரண்டலை அதிகப்படுத்த அதிகப்படுத்த தமது சொந்த நாடுகளின் அவை வழங்கி வந்த ஜனநாயக உரிமைகளை கொஞ்சம் கொஞ்சமாக பறித்து வருகின்றன. பதிலுக்கு இந்திய போன்ற நாடுகளோ ஏகாதிபத்திய சுரண்டலை எதிர்க்கும் மக்கள் போராட்டங்களை ஒடுக்க வசதியாக ஒவ்வொரு ஜனநாயக உரிமைகளையும் குழி தோண்டி புதைத்து வருகிறார்கள். இன்று இவர் நாளை அடிமைத்தனத்தை எதிர்க்கும் யார் வேண்டுமானாலும்.

அருந்ததிராயின் வார்த்தைகளில் சொல்வதென்றால், "இந்திய ஒரு போலீஸ் ராஜ்யமாக மாற இருக்கிறது. அங்கு நடப்பவற்றை ஏற்றுக் கொள்ளாத ஒவ்வொருவரும் பயங்கரவாதி என்று அழைக்கப்படும் அபாயம் உள்ளது..... பயங்கரவாதம் என்ற சொல்லாடலுக்கு எந்தவொரு தெளிவான விளக்கமும் கொடுக்காமல் விட்டு வைத்திருப்பதன் மூலம் அதன் அர்த்தம் மிகப்பரந்து விரிந்ததாக திட்டமிட்டே விடப்பட்டுள்ளது. நாமும் கூட வெகு விரைவில் மாவோயிஸ்டுகள் என்றோ நக்சலைட்டுகள் என்றோ, பயஙகரவாதிகள், பயங்கரவாதி ஆதரவாளன் என்றோ அழைக்கப்பட்டு முடித்துக்கட்டப்படும் நாள் வெகு தூரத்திலில்லை."

ஒரு அரைக்காலனியாக உள்ள இந்தியாவில் ஜனநாயகம் என்பது படித்த நடுத்தர வர்க்கத்திற்க்காவது கிடைத்து வந்தது. அதுவும் தற்போது தரகு அரசுக்கு பெருத்த இடைஞ்சாலாகி விட்டபடியால் கழட்டியெறியப்பட்டு கிழிந்த கோமணாய் அரைக் கம்பத்தில் தொங்கிறது. போலி சுதந்திர தினத்தன்று பறக்கவிடப்பட்ட மூவர்ணக் கொடியோ அரைக் கோமணத்தின் முடை நாற்றத்தில் மூச்சு திணறி தலை தாழ்ந்துள்ளது.

ஆக, அன்புள்ள வாசக பயங்கரவாதிகளே (பின்ன, தற்போதைய வரையறைப்படி பயங்கரவாதியினுடைய எழுத்துக்களை படிப்பவரும் கூட பயங்கரவாதிதானே) இந்த செய்தியை எல்லாருக்கும் தெரியப்படுத்துங்கள். இமெயிலில் அனுப்புங்கள். இதுதான் இன்றைய இந்தியா, நாளைய இந்தியா....


TerrorinFocucs

நன்றி: அரசுபால்ராஜ்


9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Read this -
Covert campaigns and draconian laws spread state terror in Chhattisgarh

http://www.sabrang.com/cc/archive/2006/sep06/hrights.html

Anonymous said...

KEEP HOPE ALIVE of SOCIALISM

sundar

அசுரன் said...

List of documents and digital material seized by the police from Binayk Sen's home:

http://resistanceindia.blogspot.com/2007/06/list-of-documents-and-digital-material.html

arasubalraj said...

நன்றி தோழர் அசுரன்.

//மருத்துவர் பினாயக் சென்(Bஇனயக் ஸென்) என்பவரை அவர் மாவோயிஸ்டுகளுடன் தொடர்பில் உள்ளவர் என்பதாக கூறி கைது செய்துள்ளது போலீஸ். சட்டிஸ்கரில் மிகவும் மதிக்கப்படும் ஒரு ஆளுமை இவர். சட்டிஸ்கரில் அவர் ஒரு முக்கியமான மனித உரிமை போராளி (PஊCள்), பல்வேறு மனித உரிமை மீறல்கள் குறித்து வெளிக் கொண்டுவந்தவர்.//

இப் பத்தி ஏன் இருமுறை சொல்லப்பட்டுள்ளது?

அசுரன் said...

அப்படியா... இருங்கள் பார்க்கிறேன்....


ஓ... இதுவா.... இந்த தளத்தின் முகப்பில் கட்டுரைகளை சுருக்கிக் காட்டி. படிகக் விரும்புகிறவர்கள் 'Read More' பொத்தானை அமுத்தி விரித்து படிக்கும் வகையில் பழைய வார்ப்புருவை தாயர் செய்திருந்தேன். வார்ப்புருக்களை மாற்றிப் பார்த்து பரிசோதித்து வருகிறேன் அதில் அந்த குறிப்பிட்ட செயல்பாடுகளுக்கான விட்ஜெட் மறைந்து விட்டது. மாறாக கட்டுரை மூல வடிவத்தில் இதற்க்கெனெ செய்யப்பட்ட ஏற்பாடுகள் கட்டுரையின் சுருக்கப் பகுதி இருமுறை தெரியுமாறு செய்து விட்டது...

சிரமத்திற்க்கு மன்னிக்கவும். விரைவில் நல்லதொரு வர்ப்புருவுடன். தளத்தில் பேசும் பொருளுக்கேற்ற சிறப்பு வசதிகளுடன் வெளியிடுவேன்.

அசுரன்

அசுரன் said...

http://www.hindu.com/2007/08/22/stories/2007082254301100.htm

Security at what cost?

Garimella Subramaniam
Chhattisgarh’s Special Public Security Act under fire.


Chhattisgarh’s champion of rural public health and civil liberties, Binayak Sen, has been incarcerated in Raipur’s Central Jail for over three months. His detention under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) 2005 brings into focus the government’s dangerous strategy of countering Maoist insurgency with state-sponsored private armed militias, with grave implications for the exercise of fundamental rights.

The immediate provocation for the judicial remand of this medical missionary, of no religious denomination, on May 14 was the campaign he led to spotlight the killing last March of seven adivasis in Bastar. But the arrest is part of a pattern of repression by the Raman Singh government to quell democratic opposition to plans for large scale acquisition of the mineral-rich tribal land.

No incriminating evidence

It took the police over two months and repeated adjournments from the courts to file a charge sheet. Even so, the voluminous document fails to provide any incriminating evidence against Dr. Sen. Allusion to his many authorised visits to the jail to counsel undertrials — in his capacity as State general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties — is a case in point. The High Court, while rejecting the police demand for remanding Dr. Sen to the custody of the investigating agencies, denied him bail.

The Salwa Judum, a voluntary association of land-owners and contractors backed by the state, has, since 2005, unleashed a reign of terror. Thousands of adivasis have been removed from more than 600 villages in Dantewada district alone. The National Commission for Women and other independent fact-finding teams have highlighted the atrocities committed by Salwa Judum, including assaults on and killing of women, torching of houses, and extortion of illegal levy from passing vehicles.

A public interest litigation filed in this connection has alleged a complete breakdown of the civil administration and sought the Supreme Court’s intervention for the restoration of the rule of law. Eminent personalities, including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, renowned social critic Noam Chomsky, and Booker-Prize winning author Arundhati Roy, have rallied behind Dr. Sen.

Dr. Sen has for three decades been at the forefront of unravelling the connections between endemic poverty, disease, food security, and macro-economic policies. Elements of the alternative model he pioneered include advocacy of oral medication over intra-muscular injections, a validated mechanism for timely diagnosis of malaria and tuberculosis, and supply of low-cost medicines. This distinguished alumnus of the Christian Medical College, Vellore, served on the official committee for the ‘Mitanin’ programme to train 60,000 women health workers, launched by the previous Ajit Jogi government.

Recent events are a fallout of the overtly political character of Dr. Sen’s social activism. For example, he challenged the CSPSA even before it received presidential assent. The High Court dismissed his petition; but to him, that outcome only underlined the need to raise public awareness about the arbitrary law.

The State can, for instance, declare any organisation as unlawful without specifying reasons and slap a three-year sentence on its members. It can dub routine acts of free expression and association as unlawful activities and pronounce a seven-year imprisonment on those that it disapproves of. As the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative points out, the two-year sentence under the CSPSA for protecting members of an unlawful organisation can be used to harass persons who are forced to shelter to armed groups.

Political parties of the Left and democratic mainstream, including the Congress and the Communist parties, have called for the Chhattisgarh law to be scrapped and, by implication, for Dr. Sen’s release.


***************

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2007/08/28/stories/2007082855511001.htm

Release Binayak Sen

I would like to compliment The Hindu for carrying the balanced and well researched article “Security at what cost?” (Aug. 22). Binayak Sen personifies the social physician, who not only looks after patients but also struggles to address the social, political and economic issues that lead to ill-health. The imprisonment of one who embodies the ideals of the profession indicates the lack of the Chhattisgarh government’s interest in the welfare of the tribals. The charges against Dr. Sen should be withdrawn. The CSPSA that is being used to harass people should be removed.

Anand Zachariah,

Vellore

Dr. Sen, who protested against the draconian laws of the Chhattisgarh government, is languishing in jail. His imprisonment has not affected anyone in power. But the sentencing of Sanjay Dutt for being in illegal possession of an AK-56 disturbed some of our MPs who felt compelled to stand by him and his family. Dr. Sen’s ‘crime’ seems to be the fact that none of his family members has occupied any high post in any government. His plight is hardly an issue for our Ministers.

K.R.P. Gupta,

New York

அசுரன் said...

Date:18/05/2007 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/05/18/stories/2007051801461400.htm

National

Sen's arrest an example of repression by Chhattisgarh Government, says PUCL

Staff Reporter

Demonstration for his unconditional release organised in New Delhi

VOICE FOR VOICELESS: Writer and social activist Arundhati Roy addressing a press conference held against the arrest of Binayak Sen, general secretary, Chhattisgarh PUCL, in New Delhi on Thursday. — Photo: Rajeev Bhatt


NEW DELHI : Alleging that fake encounters in the past two years have claimed the lives of 155 people in Chhattisgarh, members of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on Thursday accused the State Government of subjecting Adivasis to atrocities under the garb of Salwa Judum — a people's movement against terrorism and naxalism initiated by the Government in June 2005.

The recent arrest of PUCL member Binayak Sen in Chhattisgarh, they said, was an example of the Government's repression on voices that drew attention to human rights violations.

Members of the PUCL, who organised a demonstration outside the Chhattisgarh Bhavan in the capital on Thursday, have sought Dr. Sen's unconditional release.

They accused the Government of "framing" Dr. Sen, a paediatrician and the vice-president of the PUCL in Chhattisgarh. He was arrested on May 14 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004, and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005.

Later addressing a press conference, Harish Dhawan of the People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) said Dr. Sen had been falsely implicated.

``The State Government has unleashed terror and the police have not yet filed a First Information Report. Threats to PUCL members and Dr. Sen had begun two-and-a-half years ago, because we had begun to draw attention to the large-scale killings, rapes and human rights violation that went unreported."

Condemning the arrest of Dr. Sen, the former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice Rajinder Sachar, said: "PUCL members are committed to non-violence.

``Violence cannot be tolerated; State violence is no less than any other violence. POTA's draconian laws have been incorporated in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004."

`Dangerous trend'


Criticising Salwa Judum, noted writer Arundhati Roy said: "What has happened to Dr. Sen is what has been happening to the people of Chhattisgarh; people who are not heard, who have no voices. It all begins with the creation of Salwa Judum. Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are colluding to create a people's militia and using unemployed people as special protection officers. This is a dangerous trend... which will result in the society becoming militarised."

Advocate Prashant Bhushan accused the Government of orchestrating "land grabbing" and repressing the Adivasis who raise their voice against this. Joining the PUCL in seeking the release of Dr. Sen were members of the PUDR, Medicos Friend Circle, the National Alliance for People's Movement, the Socialist Front, Saheli and the Delhi Solidarity Group.

© Copyright 2000 - 2007 The Hindu

அசுரன் said...

Rights activists: persecution and resistance
http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/29/stories/2007092955231200.htm
Mukul Sharma

Harassment of human rights activists is so often part of their daily life that it goes unreported. Detention or abduction, disappearances and politically motivated imprisonment are used to intimidate them.

A well-known activist of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and a medical doctor, Binayak Sen, was arrested in May 2007 in Chhattisgarh, under the provisions of the controversial black laws, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, amended in 2004 and made more stringent after the collapse of POTA. In August 2007, Roma, a woman activist working among the women, tribals and Dalits of Mirz apur, Uttar Pradesh, under the aegis of the Kaimur Kshetra Mahila Majdoor Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, was arrested and charged under the National Security Act. A young Oriya poet and literary editor, Saroj Mohanty, who is also an activist of the Prakrutik Suraksha Sampada Parishad, an organisation supporting the struggles of the people of Kashipur, who for the past 13 years have successfully opposed the entry of large bauxite mining companies in the region, was picked up by the police in July 2007 at Rayagada, Orissa, on charges of dacoity, house trespass and attempt to murder. Two activists — Shamim and Anurag — of the Shramik Adivasi Sanghathana and the Samajwadi Jan Parishad, working amongst the tribals in the Betul, Harda and Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh, were served externment notices in June by the Harda District Magistrate under the State Security Act.

Dr. Binayak, Roma, Saroj, Shamim, Anurag and many like them are crucial actors of our present times. They are individuals, groups of people or organisations who promote and protect human rights in many different ways and in different capacities, through peaceful and non-violent means. They uncover violations, subject them to public scrutiny and press for those responsible to be accountable. They empower individuals and communities to claim their basic entitlements as human beings. They represent some of the most marginalised civil society groups — from the tribal people to the landless rural workers and women’s groups. However, because of their work they face a range of challenges. They are subjected to death threats and torture, persecuted through the use of the judicial system and silenced through the introduction of security laws. Unfounded investigations and prosecutions, surveillance of offices and homes, and the theft of important human rights information and documents are some of the tactics used to intimidate them and prevent them from continuing their work. Many even disappear or are murdered. The pursuit of neo-liberal economic policies, with its emphasis on special economic zones, land acquisitions and appropriation of natural resources, is intensifying the attacks on human rights defenders.

This situation reminds us of the times when cultural and trade union activists such as Safdar Hashmi and Shankar Guha Niyogi were killed. The bankruptcy and increasing isolation of the ruling class provoke its local counterpart and they launch a new offensive against the rights activists. Yesterday, it was Safdar Hashmi and Shankar Guha Niyogi, today it is Binayak Sen, and tomorrow it will be Medha Patkar or Sunilam.

In fact, in spite of Indian democracy and India’s membership of the Human Rights Council for the second consecutive term, the situation in the country is no different from global trends. In her 2007 report, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders, noted that defenders working on land rights, natural resources or environmental issues seem to be particularly at risk of attacks and violations of their rights: “Defenders working [in the field of economic, social and cultural rights] face violations of their rights by the State and/or face violence and threats from non-state actors because of their work. Violations of their rights seem to take all the forms that violations of the rights of defenders working in the field of civil and political rights take. There are some differences though, perhaps the most important being that defenders working in the field of ESCR often have a harder time having their work accepted as human rights work. This might have several effects, including difficulties attracting funding, a lack of coverage from the media to violations of these defenders’ rights, and a lack of attention paid to these violations and a hesitation in seeking remedial measures at the domestic or international levels.” (Hina Jilani, Report Submitted by the Special Representative, 24 January 2007)

Peoples’ rights agenda in India has always been a dynamic and constantly evolving one, with activists applying the principles and tools of human rights to different contexts and struggles. At different points in history, courageous and visionary people have sought to extend the boundaries of human rights to those outside, be it those living amidst caste oppression, workers unprotected against social insecurity, or women denied any rights against violence. Thus we see the emergence of new rights on information, food, domestic violence, and tribal lands. People forging new frontiers for rights are often the ones most exposed to risk, ridicule and resistance. The contours of human rights shift as patterns of oppression change. Their scope and content will therefore always be a matter of contestation. Indeed, the human rights agenda has always been built by its own critique. Those excluded from the way rights are traditionally understood or interpreted — for example, Dalits, tribals, women, labour, homosexuals or the disabled — are fighting for inclusion and enriching and transforming the understanding of human rights as a result.

There have always been challenges for human rights and political activists in our country. Harassment of activists is so often part of their daily life that it goes unreported. Detention or abduction, disappearances and politically motivated imprisonment are used to stop activists. In the recent past, smear campaigns and defamatory tactics have also been used to de-legitimise the works of defenders, with the media often colluding in the dissemination of slanderous accusations and attacks on their personal integrity and political independence.

However, we are also now living in a new hostile environment. As countless examples show, a large area in the country is witnessing armed conflicts, often on a massive scale, in which civilian lives and livelihoods are increasingly the principal casualty. It is in such an environment that the work of human rights activists is most needed, yet often least respected. In an atmosphere of tense polarisation, their impartiality is called into question.

Further, new security measures introduced have also had a chilling effect on the environment in which rights activists operate. We have to contend with the governmental discourse that prioritises ‘security’ (understood as prevention of terrorism) over human rights, and that sees the two as conflicting rather than mutually supporting policy goals. In such circumstances, human rights have come to be equated with ‘being soft on terrorism’ or concerned only with the rights of suspected terrorists, rather than with the victims of terrorism. The work of rights activists has itself been equated with terrorism or subversion in the eyes of some governments.

However, in the present phase of Indian polity, human rights defenders, social justice movements and development practitioners are more at the receiving end when they take the language and tools of rights into the sphere of economic and social policy. On issues of land, water, forests and mining, our government is hostile to the very concept of economic and social rights as enforceable entitlements. The experiences involved in identifying violations, attributing responsibility and proposing measures for redress and prevention in these arenas lead us to also view these rights as less enforceable through legal means (‘justiciable’).

In all the cases of attacks on human rights defenders, there is a broader people’s resistance and activists also fight their cases. However, the main point is that the governments have the obligation to protect human rights defenders as a special category. In 1998, the U.N. adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which, although not legally binding, draws together provisions from other legally binding conventions and covenants most relevant. The Declaration sets out the prime responsibility of states to take all necessary steps to ensure the protection of all those who exercise their right to defend human rights.

Among other things, the Declaration affirms the rights: to defend human rights, to freedom of association, to document human rights abuses, to seek resources for human rights work, to criticise the functioning of government bodies and agencies and to access international protection bodies. A Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders was also appointed in 2000. Our national human rights institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission should take note of this fact for the protection of human rights defenders. True, our rights activists have many skills and years of honed experience; there is no mystery or mystique to defending human rights. We all hold the potential of becoming human rights defenders.

(Mukul Sharma is Director, Amnesty International India.)

*************************

Opinion - Letters to the Editor

Rights activists
http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2007100253651004.htm&date=2007/10/02/&prd=th&

The article “Rights activists: persecution and resistance” (Sept. 29) has aptly exposed the political and bureaucratic tentacles advancing towards those who take up the cause of civil and human rights of the marginalised sections. In India, there is no dearth of laws that seek to alleviate the sufferings of the poor. But in practice, the laws are virtually of no use to them. When some take up the cudgels on their behalf, they meet the fate of Dr. Binayak Sen, who is languishing in prison. When human rights activists are tormented by controversial black laws, it is the duty of our courts to intervene to protect their rights.

S. Rajasekhar,
Thiruvananthapuram

அசுரன் said...

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/sen010108.html

Binayak Sen -- A Mother's Appeal
by Anasuya Sen
I am a woman in my eighties. When we were young, people were inspired by the examples of karmayogis who were patriotic, motivated by ideals of service, wise and virtuous. We considered ourselves blessed if we could follow in their footsteps.

I had so far been a silent spectator to the injustice and violence that pervades our free democracy today, but only because I was personally untouched by it. But now, as an aged mother, and outraged by the blows of injustice, I wish to break my silence. Inconsolable in my pain at the age of eighty-one years, I now wish to make a humble appeal to the people of free, democratic India.

As perhaps many of you are aware, my son Dr. Binayak Sen is today held in jail, a victim of extreme injustice. At the age of four years, he was troubled by questions of injustice: why didn't the boy who helped us at home not eat with us? Why did he have to eat alone on the kitchen floor? Why couldn't he join him at meal times?

When he graduated with his first medical degree with distinction at the age of twenty two from the Christian Medical College in Vellore, he refused to heed his father’s wish for him to go to England to study for the MRCP. Whatever knowledge he needed to practice medicine in his own country, he insisted, he could acquire right here. He was subsequently awarded the M.D. in paediatrics from Vellore, and then joined JNU as an assistant professor with a wish to study for a PhD in Public Health. But he could brook no further delay. He left his academic position to take up a position at the TB Research Centre and hospital run by the Friends' Rural Centre at Hoshangabad (MP). After a couple of years there, he found an opportunity to work among the miners in Chhattisgarh. There he joined the late independent trade unionist Shankar Guha Neogi and devoted himself selflessly to serving the daily wage labourers of the Bhilai factories and the mineworkers and their families at the mines of Dalli Rajhara and Nandini, aiding and organizing the poor and the oppressed untiringly in their daily struggles to rid themselves of their many social ills. It was here, while working with Shankar Guha Neogi's Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh, that Dr. Sen set up a health centre run for and by the workers of the area. Within a few years this grew to a 25 bed hospital. Dr. Sen then left this hospital in the care of the workers and a few other doctors who had been inspired by his example to work there, and joined his wife Dr. Ilina Sen in Raipur in starting a NGO called Rupantar. This organization worked in the areas of community health, ecologically sustainable agriculture, helping women become independent, and formal and informal education for children and adults. Work proceeded apace in all areas successfully. When a rice research centre had opened at Bhatagaon, a scientist cited Dr. Sen in one of his works as "Dr. Binayak Sen, a farmer". Dr. Sen also opened community health centres in the villages of Dhamtari and Bastar districts, devoted to treating patients and training health workers for administering primary health care and raising awareness of their own communities in matters of health. Primary and adult education centres were opened at various villages.

Dr. Sen's example inspired several other doctors from famous medical institutions like AIIMS to give up lucrative careers and comfortable lifestyles to open similar health centres in Bilaspur. These centres are now running very successfully.

While working with Rupantar at Raipur, Dr. Sen joined the People's Union of Civil Liberties as an all-India Vice President and Secretary for the state of Chhattisgarh. In the course of his medical work among the poor and the oppressed, which was already occupying all his time, he became aware of the abuses of the state towards the poor adivasis of Bastar district, and protested against the state sponsored Salwa Judum movement that pitted adivasis against one other. The state did not take kindly towards his protestations on behalf of the poor.

When the brother of an aged and ailing prisoner of Raipur Central Jail asked Dr. Sen to visit and treat his brother in prison, Dr. Sen did so with the permission of the jail authorities. The fact that the prisoner was a Naxalite gave the state an opportunity to arrest and imprison Dr. Sen on May 14, 2007 under the state's Public Security laws. The patriot who had devoted his entire professional life to the untiring service of the poor -- a record acknowledged by the Paul Harrison Award bestowed on him by his alma mater -- that very person was now in jail charged with being a terrorist waging war against the state.

When the Chhattisgarh High Court denied Dr. Sen his appeal for bail, his wife Dr. Ilina Sen appealed to the Supreme Court. The date for the hearing of the bail petition was fixed for Monday, December 10 2007.

A Bench consisting of a senior and a junior judge was appointed to hear the appeal for bail. The initial junior judge was subsequently replaced by another. On December 8, the Chhattisgarh government invited the senior member of this Bench to Raipur as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of a Legal Aid Centre, and extended its hospitality to him till December 9 when the senior judge returned to New Delhi. The very next day, the Bench dismissed Dr. Binayak Sen’s appeal for bail in just thirty-five minutes.

Here, without casting any doubts or aspersions on anyone's integrity, I humbly wish to pose my question to all the people and revered leaders of free, democratic India: SHOULD I REGARD AS JUSTICE the refusal of bail to one who even as a child was moved by injustice, who having devoted his entire working life selflessly to providing food and health to the poor, who without coveting wealth survived for days on dal, rice and green chillies, who is accustomed to living like the poor, who dedicated his life to serving the people of his country, and who is now arraigned for breach of public security and waging war against the state?

If this is justice, where I should I seek redress against injustice? Should I remain a victim of injustice even at this age?

Does this son of mine -- a selfless, wise, virtuous, humble, peace-loving karmayogi, motivated entirely by the ideals of service, and living among the poor -- have to spend his days in prison?

My simple question to all compassionate readers of this appeal is: How much longer to that day when Dr. Binayak Sen will receive justice?

I ask this question not just for myself and for my son, but also on behalf of all mothers suffering from the injustice meted out to their children. Is justice so elusive in our free, democratic country?


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On December 10, 2007, the Supreme Court rejected Dr. Sen's bail appeal. Please visit freebinayaksen.org and savebinayak.ukaid.org for information and activist resources on Binayak Sen.


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The appeal was published by Sanhati, and excerpts from it have appeared in the Business Standard.
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