Prisoners of conscience  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

"Even if a 1000 sinners go unpunished, an innocent man should never be punished". This is supposed to be one of the unwritten laws of judiciary. But the Indian govt and judiciary seems to believe in just the opposite. Mass murderers walk free through our streets. Cold blooded rapists contest elections. Corrupt officials get a pat on the back and promotion to boot. Less said the better, about corrupt politicians. So how will we fill up the jails? Easy it is! Use one of those words like terrorism or maoism, frame a case against someone who's not even remotely connected with any of these and put him in jail. It helps that no one in India will ever question if a person is arrested in connection with one of these 'isms'. And matters are made easier when a section of the media is ready to give breathless coverage and conduct a 'virtual execution' of the 'traitor'.
Binayak Sen-Prisoner of conscience

'Sedition' is the buzzword nowadays in judicial circles. Dr.Binayak Sen is the innocent victim of this ugly word, which is twisted to suit those at the top. And his crime? Treating the poor and down trodden Indians living in naxal hit villages and then speaking out against the notorious salwa judum, the supposedly anti-naxalite people's army of Chattisgarh. Binayak Sen is also the national vice president of People's Union for civil liberties, which was one of the organisations that spoke out against the Judum's atrocities in the name of fighting naxals. Innocent villagers were killed and women raped by the special police officer's(SPO) of the Salwa Judum. The Judum started as a people's movement to fight naxals but later morphed into a monster which is even worse than the naxals.(Read this Tehelka article to know about some of their atrocities). Binayak Sen speaking out against this state sponsored terrorism ruffled a few feathers. And they hit back with a vengeance, arresting him in 2007. He was branded as a naxal and as a threat to national security. This, even after he spoke out against the violent ways of the naxals. After almost 3 years in jail, the Raipur court sentenced him to life imprisonment 2 weeks back. Another victim of the sedition charge is Sudhir Dhawle, the editor of vidrohi magazine, who was arrested this week. This well known human rights activist was also arrested on charges of having close links with naxals. Yet another case of the mighty state trying to silence those who speak uncomfortable truths happened with the Karnataka police framing false cases against K.K.Shahina, Tehelka's reporter who wrote a report on how the police paraded false witnesses in the Madani case. They even branded her a terrorist, allegedly because of her name which symbolised the community she belonged to. And, of course none can forget the other high profile victim of the sedition drama, Arundathi Roy.
Sudhir Dhawle protesting against the injustice meted out to Binayak Sen. Ironic that, he himself was arrested on the same charges soon after this!

K.K.Shahina, a honest reporter who was branded a terrorist!

All these instances point to a police state becoming increasingly uncomfortable with its citizens speaking out against its wrongdoings. I used to think that human rights activists are a burden to the society with their negative approach to the government. The mainstream media also did contribute to this blinkered view of mine. But, over the last few years, with the emergence of alternate news sources, the campaign of misinformation run by the state and its cronies is slowly unravelling. Without these bunch of activists who bravely question the injustices and stand up for the rights of the silenced, our country will be in deeper danger. I still regard Arundathi Roy's views on azadi and afzal guru with utter contempt. But there are other issues that activists including her have spoken out about, which deserves to be heard and acted upon. The plight of the kashmiris reeling under the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act[AFSPA], the plight of the tribals driven away by mining corporations, the plight of the poor Indian citizen tormented by the police and many other similar cases need to be discussed in the civil society.

The sedition law stated in section 124A clearly states that "Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section." All the above said cases fall under this particular category. There was never an attempt to excite hatred, but an expression of disapproval in the way the state behaves in particular scenarios. The sedition law dates back to the days of the British empire, with appropriate changes made after independence. There are suggestions in various circles to repeal the law itself. A better idea would be to use it wisely. But the way the government is using it to silence its critics sets a dangerous precedent. Its these disagreeing voices which acts as corrective forces and balances the democracy. By shutting them up and selling its propaganda, the Indian state is edging closer to show signs of an autocratic state. Its time more voices spoke up. A lone wolf is easy to hunt down, but not a pack of them.

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Friday, January 07, 2011 at Friday, January 07, 2011 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


"state sponsored terrorism" ??? in this blog???
am i dreaming?

10:43 PM

I'd refrain from making a comment at this point. One needs to carefully examine the intricacies of this case and mull over many findings that are in the open already!

8:00 AM

The sentence may sound harsh sentence but it , rightfully, sets a strong precedent to anyone who even dreams of assisting organistaions that question concept of the union of india and the sovereignty it enjoys over the territory it holds...

this man has also been accussed of interacting with maoists in the flesh apart from supporting the anti salwa judum cause...isint this enough to put this man behind bars for good...

8:20 PM

I think you have a slightly different opinion on activists like Arundhati roy now.May be the recent scams and state atrocities made you think otherwise.
Many more Binayak Sens will arise in this poorest of the nations where the so called educated middleclass live in their own bubble world and think that the three letter words GDP are the saviour of this nation.
BUt very few realize that this growth belongs to just a few handful of Corporates which mean nothing to India.

Egypt has less unemployment rates, better percapita incomes and far lesser poor people than the great India.
But the people there realized who their enemy is-The state.
Going by actual stats, India would have seen many revolutions by now.
BUt the politicians here do provide us just enough education so that the middle class is lured by the luxury of the Western world.
They tend to appreciate everything American.
Its time atleast few of us open our eyes into this.
Tht Tatas and Ambanis never created India,they gave us nothing.
They built the nexus of politicians corporates and judiciary and made the laws a complex one tht no one is ensured justice.
They killed the Kashmiris,Manipuris and many more in the name of Naxalism and Terrorism.
Every State need to impart a state of fear so that the people get a feeling that they are protected by the state.This is done through Naxals and Terrorists.
A far more threat to Indian nation is the Indian Army (with its AFSPA) which has killed much more Indians than any of the above groups.

There is no other state which kills so much people in the name of Democracy and nationhood.
I do not intend to hurt patriotic Indian feeling,and do not intend to support those who resort to violence.

But what should someone so poor do in this nation when their Homes are taken away by powerful corporates with the help of a corrupt State and a much much more corrupt Kangaroo Court who are there to impart the necessary 'justice'.

Let us remind ourselves that if any of us mean 'Nation' here,they need to realize that this model is not gonna work for long.

India does not lives in the hearts of a foreign educated Prime Minister and his millionaire businessman ministers who are corrupt to the core and act for the US rather than their own nation,but it lives through the hearts of 70% of the population of this nation who earns less than Rs 20 a day.

Let us all keep this in mind when we go to polling stations next time.
Indifference is the biggest political party out there.
Lets defeat it together
So please get your index fingernail colored in the next election season and for only the better guys.

9:00 PM

Its not enough man..Its a clear case of the state targetting a man just because he questioned their oppressive tendencies...I am surprised that someone as knowledgable as you is supporting this sentence..

@The Annonymous commentator
I'm still not sure about Ms.Roy..
But I agree with everything else you told in this enlightening comment..

I feel I know the real you :D

12:19 PM

Tht Tatas and Ambanis never created India,they gave us nothing.???????????

Cannot agree with this statement in anyway.

3:42 PM

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