Food Bill absolute disaster: Binayak Sen

Food Bill absolute disaster: Binayak Sen

The Food Security Bill is an absolute disaster and denies the basic inclusion of a universal public distribution system as demanded by the civil society, said human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen


Lashing out at the government version of the Bill on Friday, Sen said, “The Food Security Bill has two categories - one for those below the poverty line, and another for those above it.

“The categories are general and priority. And the ration for each of these categories has further reduced since its formulation to seven kilos of food grains to the ‘priority’ category and three kilos to the general section. I mean, it is a joke,” he lamented. Explaining the fallacy of the bill, Sen said the rate at which the general category had to buy food grains was 50 per cent of the minimum support price, thus giving rise to a likelihood of tension between farmers and consumers.

“The government has created an escape mechanism by providing a clause for distributing cash or food stamps instead of food grains. We, on behalf of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), have asked for the government to provide food grains and nothing else,” he said.

Sen was in the City to deliver the sixth Henry Volken Memorial lecture. Sen, who has been accused of being a Naxal sympathiser, said the PUCL had been trying to propose peace between Naxalites and the State. “But there has to be peace with justice. There cannot be peace based on injustice and inequity,” he said.

Sen has been in and out of jail on charges of sedition and assisting Naxalites since 2007. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court after he was sentenced to life on charges of sedition in December 2010.

Speaking about the harsh realities of human rights activism and State-sponsored oppressions in the country, Sen said his arrest was not an isolated case. There have been several hundreds of other incidents which have attracted the wrath of the administration.

“People may think that the ‘disappearance’ of a human right activist in Jammu and Kashmir or in Chhattisgarh or Manipur may not harm them. But in reality, the ‘disappearance’ of activists is fast spreading across the country,” he said.

Speaking about the atrocities by the State on the oppressed class, especially the human right activists helping such people, he said gross injustice had been done by the prisons and judiciary system in the country.

“False police cases have been foisted against people, especially human right activists,” he claimed.

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