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14 May 2007

We, the following Civil and Democratic Rights organizations, strongly condemn the arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen, General Secretary, PUCL (Chhattisgarh) and Vice President, PUCL (National) under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004 and Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2006. Dr. Sen is a very well respected civil rights activist of long standing who has the rare ability to integrate his medical profession with his activism. He had come to Bilaspur today to attend his clinic and was informed by the City SP, Bilaspur to reach the local thana for recording of statement. When he reached the thana, he was arrested.

The arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen has come after a week long false charges by the SP Raipur that Dr. Binayak Sen is a Naxalite. In the last few days, the police had made similar public statements against some other PUCL (Chhattisgarh) activists and democratic rights activists including Ms. Rashmi Dwivedi and Mr. Gautam Bandopadyay.

Arresting of civil and democratic rights activists is neither new nor original. The experience of various Civil Rights organizations including the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee over the last two decades is enough proof of how the state has attacked those who have questioned the state and exposed the truth behind fake encounters, disappearances and rapes that form an integral part of the operations of state forces. In the present context, it is well known that the Chhattisgarh Government has been indulging in the most brazen brutality in the adivasi areas of the State to suppress the Maoist movement. Dr. Sen’s untiring work in documenting the atrocities and violations committed by the state forces in the guise of the Salwa Judum has earned him the ire of the police. PUCL, Chhattisgarh and other democratic activists have been raising their voice and campaigning against these illegal and inhuman practices, and for this service to democracy, the familiar allegation of being a 'Maoist' is made against them.

When the UAPA was amended in 2004 after the repeal of POTA and when the Chhatisgarh Special Public Security Act was enacted in 2006, we expressed the apprehension that it would be used against democratic movements and activists, and the apprehension has been proved right.

We condemn the arrest of Dr. Sen and demand his immediate and unconditional release.

1 (K. Balagopal)
General Secretary
Human Rights Forum
Andhra Pradesh.

2 (G.K.Ramaswamy)
Peoples Democratic Forum

3 (Nagraj Adve)
Peoples Union for Democratic Rights

4 (D. Suresh Kumar)
Joint Secretary
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee

5 (Sujato Bhadra)
Secretariat Member,
Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights


Dr. Binayak Sen is a very well known person and highly respected both in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere. As a medical doctor, Dr Sen has been actively involved in reaching health care to the poorest people as well as monitoring the health and nutrition status of the people of Chhattisgarh. Dr Sen helped to set up the Chhttisgarh Mukti Morcha’s Shaheed Hospital a pioneering effort to effort to set up a health programme and hospital owned and operated by a workers’ organization for the benefit of the common people Besides being actively associated with the Shaheed Hospital, Dr Sen is a very well respected member of Jan Swasthya Sahyog which is committed to developing a low-cost, effective, community health programme in the tribal and rural areas of Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh. He was also a member of the state advisory committee set up to pilot the community based health worker programme across Chhattisgarh that later became well known as the Mitanin programme. He also gives his services to a weekly clinic in a tribal community in Dhamtari district.As General Secreatary of the Chhattisgarh PUCL, he has helped to organize numerous fact finding campaigns into human rights violations in the state including custody deaths, fake encounters, hunger deaths, dysentery epidemics, malnutrition, and other similar violations. In recent times has worked intensively to bring large scale oppression and malgovernance within the so called Salwa Judoom in Dantewara to national and international attention. Dr. Sen has regularly spoken to the local and national media on these issues.
Dr Sen has been contributing theoretical papers to books and journals on public health .He was the recipient in 2004 of the Paul Harrison award for lifetime work medical Care in the service of Humanity, an award given annually by the Christian Medical College Vellore to one of its alumni.