The verdict of the Raipur Sessions Court sentencing Dr. Binayak Sen as well as Narayan Sanyal and Pijush Guha to life imprisonment on charges of sedition has shocked democratic opinion in India and across the world. Throughout, the trial was marked by a woeful lack of evidence, fabrication of evidence, and farcical arguments. The wholesale violation of procedural safeguards in seizure of evidence was ignored by the court. A conviction based on such flimsy, unsubstantiated and fabricated evidence is a serious miscarriage of justice and a blow to democracy.
In Binayak Sen's case, it is Indian democracy which is on trial. All over the country, people are asking: will we brand as 'seditious' and imprison for life a doctor dedicated to serving the poor and to fighting injustice, while industrialists who commission the assassination of activists like Shankar Guha Niyogi, corporate scamsters, politicians taking bribes from mining corporations, and instigators of communal riots go free?
If a high-profile case like that of Dr. Binayak Sen could meet such a fate, we can only imagine what happens in the hundreds of cases framing ordinary peasants, tribals, workers, activists, who are earning the State's ire by voicing their dissent, organising people's movements and challenging Operation Green Hunt. Even today, in Chhattisgarh, adivasi activists like Kartam Joga and Kopa Kunjam who have exposed and challenged the Salwa Judum, are in jail.
We are committed to continuing the struggle for the release of Binayak Sen and other dissenting voices framed on fabricated charges in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere, and scrapping of draconian laws like the Chhattisgarh Public Security Act, the UAPA and the AFSPA. To protest the brazen miscarriage of justice, a range of civil rights groups called for a demonstration at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, on 27th December. A large number of intellectuals, students, teachers, poets, painters and filmmakers turned out for a spirited demonstration. Their songs, poems, slogans and speeches dared the Indian State to book them for sedition for their ‘crime’ of believing in justice and democracy.