Naxal Resistance

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

Posted by Indian Vanguard on May 18, 2007

Demonstration for his unconditional release organised in New Delhi

— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

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.

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