ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Trial of Binayak Sen

Human rights activist Binayak Sen spent two years in jail before being granted bail. Charged with sedition, waging war against the Indian state, as well as being a Maoist supporter, both under normal laws and under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Unlawful Activities Act, the evidence has been full of discrepancies and contradictions on material points. The trial has just concluded at the sessions court in Raipur.

The trial of one of the most celebrated political prisoners in recent times has just ended. Going through the trial proceedings makes one laugh at the kind of evidence the Chhattisgarh police have managed to gather against Binayak Sen; but the human rights activist spent two years in jail on the basis of this evidence, charged with sedition, waging war against the State, as well as being a Maoist supporter, both under normal laws and under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The international clamour for his release, with Nobel Laureates joining in, had no effect on either our highly educated prime minister or the person who appointed him, the supposedly liberal Congress Party president who surrounds herself with some of the country’s leading intellectuals. Even the Supreme Court rejected his bail application the first time, with no reasons being given.

Binayak Sen made news when he was in jail, but soon after he was released on bail by the Supreme Court (again, no reasons given) he faded away from media focus. But his trial continued. Had it been reported regularly, the country would have known the nature of the evidence against him, and also about the ordinary men and women who stood up in court and insisted the police version was wrong. The complete blackout of the trial throws light on the functioning of the Chhattisgarh media, which had gone to town when Sen was arrested, proclaiming in banner headlines his guilt by calling him a Naxali daakiya (Naxalite postman).

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