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11 May 2007

 PUDR fears for the safety of Dr. Binayak Sen, General Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh, the National Vice President of PUCL and, a highly respected civil rights activist of long standing. As a medical doctor, Binayak 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.


As per news reports, the Raipur police has declared that Dr. Sen is absconding. Contrary to police version, Dr Sen is presently in Kolkata with his ailing mother and is undergoing treatment himself.


The police pronouncements against Dr. Sen come in the wake of PUCL Chattisgarh’s statement expressing fears about the safety of Piyush Guha, a businessman with offices in Raipur and Kolkata, who had been abducted by the police on 1st May. He was produced only on 7th and the police alleged that Dr. Sen used Piyush Guha as a courier for imprisoned Maoist leaders! Knowing that Dr. Sen was away in Kolkata, the police further alleged that he was ‘absconding’. This framing of Dr. Sen is a police tactic to divert attention from the illegal detention of Piyush Guha and also to distract pubic concern regarding the murder of 12 tribals in Bijapur District on 31st March which the police had tried to pass off as an encounter killing.


The situation in Chhattisgarh is volatile as the state has launched an all out war against the maoist movement. The crack down has now extended beyond the movement to those who have been questioning the state and exposing the truth behind fake encounters, disappearances and rapes that form an integral part of the operations of state forces. 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.  Today PUCL Chhattisgarh is the only organisation consistently exposing the brutality and illegality of paramilitary operations in Chhatisgarh. This work is essential for all people who believe and work towards a more democratic order.

 PUDR demands an immediate stop to the intimidation of Dr. Binayak Sen and targeting of PUCL Chhatisgarh.

 Shashi Saxena

Secretary, PUDR