We, the Medico Friend Circle, a national organization of health professionals, express our outrage at the verdict of the Raipur district and sessions court, on 24th December 2010, declaring Dr Binayak Sen, General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Vice-President of the National PUCL, guilty of sedition and treason, and sentencing him to life imprisonment.
Dr Sen has an illustrious record of over 25 years of selfless public service in areas of health and human rights. He has been an active member and former convenor of the Medico Friend Circle. He has been closely associated with the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, the Indian chapter of the People’s Health Movement. He is a pediatrician and is associated with a
number of hospitals and health programs that focus on reaching the most marginalized. In recognition of his work, the
Christian Medical College, Vellore conferred on him the Paul Harrison Award in 2004, which is the highest award given to an alumnus for distinguished service in rural areas. He continues to be an inspiration to successive generations of students and faculty. Many of his articles based on his work have been internationally appreciated.
His indictment under the draconian and undemocratic Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2006, and the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act, 1967 is utterly condemnable. Not only has the farcical nature of the trial been reported in themedia, the charges against Dr Sen, of engaging in anti-national activities, have been widely held as baseless. This judgment is an unacceptable attempt to intimidate and vilify those who advocate for the rights of the poor and the marginalized, and reveals the indiscriminate use of state machinery to stifle democratic dissent.
MFC believes that a great injustice has been done, not only to Dr Sen but also to the democratic fabric of this country. MFC salutes Dr Sen’s work, and demands that justice be delivered in his case.