Skip to main content

Calling to unite against danger of fascism, Binayak Sen says there is more freedom in Gujarat than Chhattisgarh

By Our Representative
Top human rights campaigner Binayak Sen, against whom the Chhattisgarh government filed a sedition case for fighting against state terror unleashed on the tribal people, has warned that the nation may be slipping into fascism, and something urgently needs to be done to evacuate the situation. Speaking at a meeting in Ahmedabad, Sen said, he was not alone to face the sedition case, and though he is now out on bail, “the draconian law is being misused and thousands of people have already become victims of the legislation.”
Noting that there is more freedom in Gujarat to speak for a human rights champion like him, he said, “This is not possible in Chhattisgarh, where people cannot gather like this, as you have here, to air your views. It is necessary to keep this atmosphere alive, as Gujarat will play a larger role in future than is the case today".
He said, "I am not the only one who was charged under the law”, he said, adding, “Today, in every state of the country thousands of people have been charged under the sedition law and many are facing jail term." Sen was delivering his convocation address at the Gujarat Vidyapeeth, founded by Mahatma Gandhi.
Sen said, the Government of India has come up with several laws which seek to provide basic rights to the underprivileged, including the right to food security, right to education, right to information, right to land to the tribals, and so on, “but this is not enough.” He insisted, “Today, we are facing a much bigger challenge. It is necessary to come together and fight against the new fascist challenge.”
"Three thousand people silently protesting against Kudankulam nuclear plant have been booked under the sedition law," Sen said, adding, "Chattisgarh court sentenced me to life imprisonment on sedition charges. I am standing before you today as the Supreme Court has given me bail. I only did what a human rights activist has to do. I helped in bringing out the reality of Salwa Judum. The Supreme Court later ordered disbanding the force," Sen, who is vice-president of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, said.
Salwa Judum was a movement founded by established forces in Chattisgarh to “fight” the Naxalite terror by adopting tactics similar to those of the Naxalites. Jalwa Judum was a civilian militia mobilised and deployed as part of anti-insurgency operations in Chhattisgarh. The militia consisting of local tribal youth received support and training from the Chhattisgarh government. On 5 July 2011, the Supreme Court declared the militia to be illegal and unconstitutional, and ordered its disbanding.
The court directed the Chhattisgarh government to recover all the firearms, ammunition and accessories. The use of Salwa Judum by the government for anti-Naxal operations was criticised for its violations of human rights, use of child soldiers and poorly trained uneducated youth for counter-insurgency roles. The tribals who opposed it became victims of terror and violence and were dubbed Naxals. It ordered the government to investigate all instances of alleged criminal activities of Salwa Judum.
"Salwa Judum actions raise a question like, why people in thousands are victims of government policies?” Sen asked. "The country is going through a crisis period right now. Every person must have the courage to ask the basic question. We cannot remain neutral in these circumstances we have to raise our voice for the marginalized," Sen, whose life imprisonment was opposed by human rights activists across the world, said.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?