January 7, 2011


Of late, other than the stink of onions, the only other news that has earned a lot of editorial space – and thankfully so – is that of the life sentence that has been awarded to Binayak Sen. However, the issue has taken up an intellectual tone; so the common man hasn’t quite gotten involved in a way he had gotten involved with the Jessica Lal case due to the glamour element. While that was a common rage-driven murder case of comparatively less significance – murders, however unfortunate, are common crimes – the Binayak Sen case is of far more significance to the society since it is about the common man’s predicament and every individual’s democratic rights in India. It is about our right to ideology and our right to work for a better society. And therefore, every Indian must get involved with this case and come out with a strong opinion against such injustice.

Before I discuss the whole debate around Binayak Sen, let me introduce him first. The reason why I want to introduce him is because his introduction would itself justify his predicament to a large extent. Binayak Sen is a paediatrician by profession, with MBBS and MD degrees. He is also the national Vice-President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He extended his profession and galvanized it with social cause (which is a rare case in India – where most doctors in today’s generation are more concerned about making money from dying patients than engaging themselves for the society, especially for the poor!) and by providing health care to disadvantaged tribal families in the poor state of Chhattisgarh. He had also worked with the state government on health sector reforms and had expressed his views on human rights violations during the anti-Naxalite operations. And this last part, in short, is his only crime!

Sen has been arrested on the account of his meeting Narayan Sanyal 33 times in Raipur jail – and mind you, all his meetings were scheduled aft er prior police permission and were closely supervised too. On the face of it, the evidence on which Binayak Sen has been charged is highly prejudicial in nature. Even if he were planning some Naxal operation or was helping Sanyal with his motives, then why did it take 33 closely supervised meetings for the police to prove his crime? Why were the same allegations not charged just aft er the first few meetings? Sen has been sentenced based on a postcard written by Narayan Sanyal regarding his health issues, again duly signed by the jail authorities. Further, the evidence shown to prove Sen guilty has consisted of books, articles and letters sent to Binayak Sen by Sanyal, exchanging thoughts on Maoist and Naxalites. This, by no means, can be considered a criminal offence; rather, this is one of our fundamental rights. Sen has also been charged with reading Mao’s books and Marx’s Das Kapital – by those standards, by default, I too become a criminal, and even half of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students studying history; perhaps half of Bengal and also half of this world from China to Russia to Cuba to Latin America has now become criminal infested! It’s really a pity that uninitiated people today have an opinion on Mao – know his mistakes by all means, but know his political ideology as well that gave shape to China, before commenting on him or comparing him with Narendra Modi or anyone else who can never match Mao’s revolutionary fervour.

And Marx is a name that should be banned from the vocabulary of selfish, corrupt, unpatriotic, uncommitted politicians of the Indian variety including the CPM class.

Anyway, coming back to Binayak Sen, he not only carried on his work silently but also raised his voice against atrocities conducted by the state in the name of anti-Naxalite operations – be it for organizing and mobilizing people’s groups like Salwa Judum (for which even the Supreme Court had lashed out at the Chhattisgarh government) or for killing innocent people during combing operations. At a global level, organizations like Amnesty International, the British House of Commons, the British Medical Journal, The Global Health Council, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and individuals like Noam Chomsky, Amartya Sen and many others have criticized this recent arrest of Sen by the Chattisgarh government. Sen, for that matter, has been charged under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the same section that was used against Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 during “the Great Ahmedabad Trial” wherein Gandhi was charged with spreading disaffection against the British. The Act, in the words of Gandhi, is the “prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizens.” What comes as a real shocker is that a person who has been felicitated with various awards for his work for society and medicine – including the Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights (Sen was even not allowed to travel to US to receive this award, which is no different from the manner Liu Xiaobo got treated in China) – is now being convicted of crimes that have not even been proved properly.

Keeping this debate aside, the moot question here is that the court found an allegiance of Sen with Naxals and that’s why he has been dealt with such harshness. I have written in the past and I maintain – Naxals are no terrorists! Their means might be wrong, but their agenda is very clear, and that is to represent the oppressed sections of the society. Their fight is against the government and not the common man. And it is no secret that they have outgrown to such an extent that they have become one of the biggest internal security threats for the nation. And it is also no secret that they share such an unflinching support from the tribal poor spread across the nation, that till date all counter-operations of the government have failed to neutralize them. The Naxalite movement is a result of the state and politician-driven terrorism on the common man. First, our politicians are so insincere that they marginalize millions into sub-Saharan existence, giving them destitution level food and health, not to talk about pathetic education and employment. Then what does the state expect? To me, it’s a crime not to protest such terrorism by the state and politicians. And one such form of protest that our terrorist politicians have driven people into is Naxalism. Give them food, health, education and employment and let us see if the movement exists anymore. We have to think about finding ways to remove the root cause of Naxalism instead of condemning them. In such a scenario, a patriotic man like Dr. Sen has an uncompromising significance, simply because not only is he educated to appreciate the larger concerns of the nation, but his deep roots within the tribal communities also help him to sensitize with them. Ideally, instead of sentencing him, the state should have productively engaged Sen in bringing the tribals into the mainstream. It’s foolish to sentence him and extremely more foolish to lose an opportunity that could have been utilised in neutralizing Naxalism to some extent, at least in Chattisgarh!

Instead of putting the real corrupt thieves and terrorists – politicians who run this country – behind the bars, it is a shame that people like Binayak Sen are being given lifetime imprisonment by the country’s judicial system. Indeed, if Sen has gone beyond ideologically understanding the root cause behind Naxalism – as I and many others in this country have done – and gone to the extent of hobnobbing with Naxalites by passing a letter or two as a token of symbolism, he surely could have been given a six month sentence at the most. But using a shameful law, that shouldn’t have existed in the first place, and sentencing a patriotic man like Binayak Sen to life imprisonment only shows how real terrorists are running the show in a country where – as his wife and equal partner in his good deeds, said – the common man has to fear for his free and democratic existence, if he is to ever raise his voice against the state’s atrocities.



Rahul Raj said...


I have been a student of yours and still look up to you as a major influencer in my life. But Iam really pained at this view point of yours particularly about Naxals in Chattisgarh which happens to be my home state, I have spent all my life in Bastar the hot bed of naxalism.
The naxals that you talk about have vanished from bastar long ago, what remains now is rouge elements who extort, loot and blackmail innocent people and small businessmen around the area. I would also in all humility disagree with you that just because Binayak Sen has won some awards he cannot be a naxalite, Sir request you to come to Bastar and I shall accompany you to remote villages and take you to actual tribals and you can hear for yourself what they have to say about naxals. The problem here is everybody is talking about the tribals without even asking them if they agree to what is being said about them.I am nobody to pronounce Binayak sen guilty or not guilty but we in Bastar have a long list of these social activists who came to Bastar in the guise of helping tribals and looted us of our wealth, our existence and even our dignity,so for a Bastaria, to be skeptical about Binayak sen's affiliation is not suprising. The latest trend in Chattisgarh adopted by the naxalites is that as soon as one of them gets shot, the remaining makes sure that they strip their dead comarade of his uniform and take his gun along, the socila workers then start the propoganda that a civilian was killed by the security forces.
Sir even I at one point romanced the idea of naxalism but today whats happening in bastar is not naxalism but sheer day light robbery, carried out by a bunch of goons and supported by social activists.

Sir i apologize if i have written anything improper but I consider you my idol and I love my home land more than my life, so thought it was my duty to apprise of the real situation.


Sharad said...


With all due respect to your stand on Binayak Sen and the verdict pronounced by our banana republic, I beg to differ on your staunch support for the Naxalites ---"Naxals are no terrorists! Their means might be wrong, but their agenda is very clear, and that is to represent the oppressed sections of the society. Their fight is against the government and not the common man." --- I have tried to closely follow the clash of ideologies, events of violence, peacemakers/breakers around the whole issue, but its the support from intellectuals like yourself beacause of which the Naxalites get a shot in the arm almost on a daily basis. With your views on Naxals, labelling them as saviors of the poor with a pure motive of good vs evil, how can you forget the hundreds of poor who have been mercilessly killed, looted, threatened, children kidnapped & women raped. If for once I try to borrow your opinion on Naxalites, then I would be compelled to also give the LeT, Jaish, Hizbul, Hezbollah, Hamas, Mosad, Taliban, US Army, ULFA etc, a complete clean chit coz everybody is fighting for a cause, justified or not, depends on personal descretion. Its high time that the learned come forward and condemn the Naxalites whole heartedly instead of endorsing them, thr ideology or joining hands with others in boosting thr morale. They are no saints living in the forests of Bastar or anywhere across the country, well disguised as the RED ROBINHOODS. Even Veerapan had strong support in his backyard. It took years to wipe him out coz of a handicapped approach of the State and the Centre. But like him, lets wait for the day when the Naxalites would kill, murder or kidnap a BIGSHOT, which would shake up the system and arouse public sentiment to go for the kill, forcing the Govt. to use the best force(against the political support that Naxals enjoy). India is not united, never was, never will be, its a mere IDEA, a CONCEPT, atleast lets not let anyone disturb this idea. The Govt. has woken up a little and will take its own sweet time to bring in the cleansing effect. It was sad to hear about the life sentence given to Binayak Sen. Looking forward to his release as soon as possible.

With regards,


Alumni - IIPM


right now i m the student of iipm and i m totally inspired by u and mr. Navin sir,,,
i like ur many blogs ......

prakash kumar

Rudra said...

Its not that Rahul and Sharad are totally wrong. The naxalite movement has indeed swayed away a little from its ideology but still that doesnt make them bandits....
and Binayak Sen's trial is a mockery of our democracy

gireeshsuman2007 said...


I am a residential of jharkhand state which also comes in "THE RED GALIYARA".
before i said about binayak sen, I must say about Naxals . Naxals was opened as fight against government. The person who was unable to survive join a naxals movement.Why?For saying that we are fighting for rights.Does it mean today? Do they fight today about their rights?
Do they fight for surviving in this world? Sorry to say , but today all thought , all motivation has been changed.what they doing in our country i will not write here coz its will be long.Yes it is right that binayak sen can be a innocent person. He is a noble men who didnot think about his career. He thought about poors.But Naxalism in today means is wrong,Sir it may be I am wrong But in Jharkhand,Bihar and West Bengal naxalite do all the wrost work of there life.i am with them who are with Binayak Sen. But I will always be against of TODAY'S NAXALISM.

With great regards to you,
Gireesh Suman,
Allahabad Bank,

Col. said...

I feel injustice has been done with Dr. Sen. The Indian judiciary never punish really dangerous criminals & terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim, Rajeev Gandhi & his family for accumulating wealth thru unfair means & Bofors Scam, Suresh Kalmadi & others for CWG games of money scams, etc etc etc etc. The system can just catch innocents & punish them without logic. Shame on you Indian Judiciary.............

Col. said...

Shame on you the Indian Judiciary

Col. said...

I feel injustice has been done with Dr. SEN.
The Indian Judiciary never punish real criminals, terrorists & culprits like Dawood Ibrahim, Rajeev Gandhi & his clan for accumulating assets disproportinate to their known sources of income & Bofors scam, Suresh Kalmadi & company for big Indian loot in CWG, the games of money etc etc etc.

vaishnavi said...

arin ji your revolutionary passionate presence in every heart and brain can kindle or restrain,in this kind of calamity and terroristic pain.

hemant said...

The biggest treat to India are selfish politicians , bureaucrats & businessmen out to loot our country in name of sham democracy . If can say we have real democracy only if we can have real inter party elections and not managed ones were every one gives his right, of forced to do so , to one person called high command . what we need today is someone like a former election commissioner(T N Sesson) to implement the constitution correctly

umesh said...

India is a democratic country.According to the constitution of India, Every Citizen along with the right to speak and express has a number of rights in all.But some of our politicians and governments, in order to hold their positions, have tried to repress and snatch citizen's rights.Thanks to the respected courts which is acting as a safeguard against them to hold the interest of its citizens.Still my opinion is, all organisations working with in the country on different ideologies should not misuse this independence.They should work in Public, Social and National Interests. Dr. BINAYAK SEN is sentenced to the life time imprisonment by the additional and district magistrates of Raipur.If he is innocent he may be relieved from the Supreme Court.People standing in his favor Like you should have faith in the Court.

paul said...

The important question to be asked is that , when thousands of criminals and corrupt who have committed heinous crimes roam around freely (including some honorable M.Ps)and when thousands of cases are pending for so many years, how come our otherwise slow judiciary , ended this case so quickly and passed the sentence (even kasab's trial is still going on).

An Eagle's View said...

What you mean to say is while you disagree with the methodologies adopted by the Naxals you in principle agree with their philosophy. Now if you could answer this then, I would be more than happy to engage you :)

Naxalism advocates extreme methods in bringing to light the plight of the downtrodden to whom the administrative setup has turned a blind eye. If what is rightly ours is denied to us, we will take it by force :)

So here's a thought.... goto the naxals, tell them "Organize protests do not kill"... and they will laugh you out of the hut, the street, the town, the district and probably the state

Job Abraham

SAROJ said...


Technology Journal said...


Man is a moody creature.

At times of peace and harmony, intellect prevails.

At the time of anarcy, politics and groupism prevails.

The predicament of Democracy is rule of the majority and not the rule of the right.

At times it is always necessary to find scapegoats, and Jesus gets sacrificed in every innocent.

No religion teaches Violence, and violence and scarcity is the root of all evil.

If there is justice and multifocal thinking in the world , this would never happen.


Vinay Thaha said...

We have voted for criminals. Criminals rule our states. Is there any party which is 100% clean, without any corruption? The whole ruling system is corrupt. We are helpless.

I am happy to see some people are trying to create the awareness.

CHANAKYA said...

hi rahul, i am with u, basically some people comments on the basis of paper document nd horses mouth, they never visits the spot, if it is so then no responsble person would discard the Salwa jurum concept....

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