Not only me but thousands booked under Sedition law: Sen

Last Updated 18 October 2013, 12:54 IST

Activist Binayak Sen, who is out on bail in a sedition case, today indicated that the draconian law is being misused and thousands of people have already become victims of the legislation.

"I am not the only one who has been charged under this law. Today, in every state of the country thousands of people have been charged under the Sedition law and many are facing jail term," Sen said in his convocation address at the Gujarat Vidyapeeth, which was established by Mahatma Gandhi here.

"Three thousand people silently protesting against Kudankulam nuclear plant have been booked under the Sedition law," he added.

"Chattisgarh court sentenced me to life imprisonment on Sedition charges. I am standing before you today as the Supreme Court has given me bail," Sen pointed out.

"I only did what an human rights activist has to do. I helped in bringing out the reality of Salva Judum. The Supreme Court later ordered disbanding the force," Sen said, adding, that he was innocent.

Salva Judum was a movement mobilised in Chattisgarh to fight Naxal menace.
"These 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 marginalised," Sen said.

Later, when asked about how to deal with the Naxal problem, he said, "I don't have any formula to solve the Naxal problem."

On the economic front, Sen said the so-called growth that the country is talking about, is resulting in widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

"What the establishment calls as 'growth' is resulting in the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening and a large section of people fall in this category," Sen said.

On the health front, he said that India has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.

"In such a situation, when we talk about growth and progress, we must ask ourselves whose growth and progress are we talking about," he said.

On nuclear power, Sen said that some organisations including him, are fundamentally opposed to the concept.

"The issue with Kudankulam nuclear power plant is democratic rights. Those who are opposed to nuclear power plant must explain to others the reason for their opposition so that everyone can raise their voices together," he said.

Citing example of how false cases have been lodged against Muslim youths, who are languishing in jails, Sen said that the law and order and judicial system are being misused by the establishment and people's voices are being throttled.
The powerful sections (people), he said, in the country are responsible for country's current problems.

He also said the establishment is giving away common property resources to private enterprises and corporates and voices, that are raised against Corporates, are throttled.
Sen said that the development claims made by Gujarat government is being overshadowed by the high malnutrition rate among children in the state.

Sen, who was convicted for sedition by a court in Raipur in Chhattisgarh for allegedly helping Naxal outfits, was granted bail by the apex court in 2011.

(Published 18 October 2013, 12:35 IST)

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