Furthermore…on Dr. Binayak Sen

If you have a copy of the Das Kapital, you can be in trouble. Such is the paranoia of the Indian state. I have already discussed the charges against Dr. Binayak Sen yesterday in Life of and for Comrade Binayak Sen but did not mention that along with the letters, Naxalite literature was being passed on. If it was seditious, then why did the jail authorities permit it?

Narayan Sanyal and Piyush Guha and Dr. Sen have been awarded a life term for their conspiracy to “spread hatred, contempt and disaffection towards the Indian government”.

Yet, the judge acquitted them of charges of waging war against the state under Section 121 A of the Indian Penal Code. Does the supposed spreading of hatred and disaffection deserve such a sentence, then? You can knock on any door of the homes of the less privileged and sometimes the privileged and will find people who express contempt for the government and the functioning of the state. They may also have copies of dissident literature.

The judgement is not concerned about those who do not come in the eye of the storm. The reasoning for the verdict is faulty:

“At present, terrorist and Maoist organizations are ruthlessly and mercilessly killing central paramilitary and police forces as well as innocent adivasis, and spreading fear and terror among the society, state and country. Taking this into account, it will not be right to show any generosity towards the accused, or reduce their sentence.”

People who have been in prison are first accused of waging war, then imprisoned. The killings of paramilitary forces happened in their absence. Dr. Sen has not called for a war. He has not incited people nor made incendiary remarks, although he is well within his rights to have an opinion, especially if it is not just for the heck of it. If the judiciary feels so strongly about not showing generosity, then let it declare that it is making an example of the man. He is not culpable. Find out how many adivasis and police personnel have been killed because of the tacit support given by him and his two colleagues.

PS: It is not my case here that people should not be tried, but on what basis? I have earlier even mentioned that if NGOs and human rights organisations are under suspicion based on specific instances of wrongdoing, including financial support from dubious sources, then the cases must be looked into.
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I have often expressed my views on the futility of petitions. I have probably signed not more than five petitions in my life. This one I have (#811).

I do not belong to any organisation affiliated with this case or even otherwise, but if you believe in what it says, what you believe to be right and think you wish to add your voice, then you can sign here:



  1. Farzana,
    Eventually, the legal charges might get dismissed by higher courts in favour of Dr. Binayak Sen. Plus international pressure is mounting as well - for instance, Amnesty International has given a statement against judgement.
    However, the inescapable irony is if it were not somebody as well known Dr. Sen - the situation would have had been made much more terrible for the person by prosecutors. Heck, at this rate even academic interest in Maoist ideology will be looked at with suspicion - branding the person as terrorist.
    p.s.: Have a Nice "whatever is left of it" weekend.

  2. Mahesh:

    I agree that an unknown person would never have had access to any such support. But, here the argument is also about the intellectual aspect, and as you pointed out 'academic interest'. Dr. Sen's work was with adivasis, primarily. Who, then, is/Maoists here?

    The complex is often sought to be made simplistic.

    PS: Have a fun-Sunday and beat the Monday blues.

  3. Even though. crimes of communists elsewhere makes me cringe, I find Indian communists to be the most principled of the lot.

    Besides, they have mostly right ideas. Pretty soon, even Americans will be begging for pinch of socialism (class war is already underway according to Warren Buffet and his side is winning..)

    Regardless, I find it extremely offensive that because Chidambaram does not know how to do his job right he needs to scare people into submission like this.

    I sincerely wish the best for Dr. Sen


  4. Hitesh:

    I don't see it as Communism=Naxals/Maoists=Binayak Sen. Political parties are rarely exempt from the foibles of real-politicking.

    Chidambaram is trapped and Digvijay Singh is not making it easy for him.

    Wasn't the class war always a reality even in the US? Is political socialism the answer?


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