Petition mobilised by coalition of 55 civil society groups from U.S., U.K. and Canada
While protests from the civil society demanding the release of renowned paediatrician and social rights activist Binayak Sen is gathering steam by the day across the country, the international community has also launched an online signature campaign for a petition to the effect to be submitted to the President.
According to the petition ‘Indian Justice Has Failed Dr. Binayak Sen' posted on www.petitiononline.com, more than 10,300 persons from cities across the world have already signed it and the number is still rising.
The petition is being mobilised by a coalition of 55 civil society groups from the U.S., the U.K. and Canada which, other than demanding Dr. Sen's immediate release, has also demanded the repeal of “draconian” sedition laws such as the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and disbanding of civilian militia such as the Salwa Judum and the Maa Danteshwari Swabhiman Manch.
“Drastic and unjust”
Describing the life-term handed out to Dr. Sen on charges of ‘sedition' and ‘waging war against the Indian state' as a “drastic and completely unjust fate,” the petition stated that such show of intolerance to criticism by the world's largest democracy should be “condemned.”
Expressing fear that “such low quality of justice routinely delivered in our courts is a threat to Indian democracy,” it demanded that an inquiry be ordered against all those who “framed” Dr. Sen and adequate compensation for him and his family for the “mental torture and harassment” they were going through.
“As a public health physician who works in developing countries and who also knows Binayak personally, I am outraged and offended by the travesty of the justice system in Chhattisgarh,” writes Panna Erasmus from Purley in the U.K.
While Nimmie from Nepal has written that ‘the political system is frightened of a man with a vision,” Dr. Ramnarayan Rao from Muscat has written that “if he is imprisoned, we must imprison almost all our politicians for committing crimes against Indians.”
“I have known Dr. Binayak Sen since 1973 when he was a trainee paediatrician at Vellore in Tamil Nadu. My memories of him are of a man of competence and compassion who only acted for the good of others. He deserves justice and mercy,” writes Dr. William A.M. Cutting from London.
Enakshi Bhattacharya from Chennai writes: “It seems like a farce and an unbelievably bad joke, except that it is very real for Dr. Sen.”
The coalition has already announced that it will observe Global Protest Day against Repression of Human Rights Activists in India on Sunday in 12 cities in the three countries to coincide with the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.