Savagery is unbelievable
Statement by top academics and public intellectuals condemning the life sentence handed down by a Raipur sessions judge to Binayak Sen:
We are deeply shocked by the judgement of a Chhatisgarh court holding the human rights activist Binayak Sen to be guilty of sedition, and sentencing him to life imprisonment. Sen never resorted to violence against any other person, never incited anyone else to resort to violence, never entered into any conspiracy against the Constitutional order of the country, and never entered into regular service of any organisation that was involved in any such conspiracy for furhering its cause. On the contrary, as a doctor he served the people with devotion and helped to save many lives; as a human rights activist he stood up in defence of the rights of the downtrodden. And yet he has been handed down this sentence whose savagery is unbelievable.
Such an action on the part of the State in the name of preserving the constitutional order will only serve to undermine that Constitutional order itself. It will inevitably raise the thought in the minds of many that an order within which the activities of a person like Sen can be held to be seditious is not worth defending.
Such an impression must be be avoided. The damage done by this shocking verdict to our Constitutional order must be undone. The higher judiciary of the country must hear his appeal expeditiously, must grant him bail till the end of the appeal process, and must judge his cae with enlighened reason.
(Among the signatories are Prabhat Patnaik, JNU, Noam Chomsky, MIT,Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Institute of Development Studies, Romila Thapar, JNU,Vina Majumdar, Rajeev Bhargava, Centre for Study o Developing Societies, Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University, Partha Chaterjee and Joya Hasan, JNU