M A I N   N E W S

Binayak’s conviction unjust: Amartya Sen
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 8
The winter chill was no dampener for scores of Binayak Sen’s supporters who flocked the India Habitat Centre this morning to make a point: “Binayak was unjustly convicted, there was nothing seditious in passing on letters because he never preached violence”.

Among the pro-Binayak voices one heard today, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s was the shrillest, the loudest. In Binayak’s life sentence (handed down by a Raipur sessions court on December 24 last) for sedition, the noted economist saw the Indian state’s inability to engage with the matters of equity.

So he slammed it as “unjustifiable” and one that raised questions about India’s democracy and its legal framework. His argument was rather plain: “Tomorrow I may be sued for sedition for contents of a letter someone asks me to post”.

Sen appeared indeed anguished at the turn of events in the apparently most-debated case of this decade, and while excusing himself for second-guessing the courts (the matter being sub-judice), he called the judgment a “miscarriage of justice” and hoped it would “fail the test of higher judiciary”.

“There was no sedition committed in my view, there are no indications to suggest that Binayak was involved in violence or preached violence. If anything can be seen from his writing, he was against sedition,” Amartya Sen felt, speaking also for writer Arundhati Roy who earlier invited similar charges, escaping a case.

At the heart of the economist’s thesis was this thought: “In a democracy, one is not obliged to voice only patriotic sentiments”. In saying so, he also exonerated Arundhati, another intellectual seen sympathising with Naxals. Interesting, however, was to see that in this thought, Amartya Sen was not alone. He had support from Soli Sorabjee, the illustrious jurist who described the Raipur court judgment as “worrying”. Together the duo hailed Binayak’s work in rural healthcare, so also the first book on his life that they had come to support (Amartya Sen released it earlier). Published by Rajpal and Sons and authored by documentary filmmaker Minnie Vaid, “A Doctor to Defend: the Story of Binayak Sen” covers in 240 pages the life of this Christian Medical College, Vellore, graduate who sidestepped a comfortable future to serve in tribal Chhattisgarh where he touched lives, made a difference and attracted the so-serious charge of sedition.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |