On 14 May 2007, Dr. Binayak Sen, a people’s doctor and a champion of civil liberties in Chhattisgarh, was arrested in Bilaspur.
The charges made out against him concerned crimes against the state spanning various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the recently created Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), and the ‘crimes against the state chapter’ of the Indian Penal Code. Nine months later, Dr. Sen continues to be in Raipur jail, with his bail petition having been turned down by the Sessions Court, High Court and the Supreme Court.
The case against Dr Binayak Sen has become one of the biggest challenges facing the civil liberties and democratic rights movement in India. Because the specific charges against him, even false ones, concern activities that are legitimate and essential for any people’s rights activist. Also because the central and state authorities have used the criminal case against Dr. Sen to discredit the civil liberties and democratic rights movement accusing these organisations of acting as a front for the Maoists.
This report hopes to augment the voices committed to safeguarding democracy and justice from any further erosion. It provides a background of the threat perceived by the state in Chhattisgarh, an exposition of the chargesheet filed against Dr. Sen, and a brief look at the legislations that form the pillars and beams of the charges. Through this the report attempts to challenge this national security mindset, to reveal how it transforms a people’s rights activist and a dedicated doctor into a threat to that security.