Condemn the Arrest of PUCL Activists in Chhattisgarh

Jan Hastakshep
May 25, 2007

Jan Hastakshep condemns the arrest of Rajinder Sail the President of the Chattisgarh PUCL. This arrest is allegedly made in connection with Shankar Guha Niyogi’s murder case, on grounds of contempt of court proceedings at Madhya Pradesh. Even though the case pertains to April 2005, the M.P. and Chhattisgarh governments have kept the warrant pending for years and suddenly pulled it out of their pockets to execute it. The fact is that the state was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Rajender Sail’s activity in the matter of the arrest of Chhattisgarh PUCL General Secretary, Dr Binayak Sen. While it is true he will have to serve the sentence lawfully imposed, yet the abuse of powers is writ large. It is a clear case abuse of law when the police keep final orders pending without executing them and using them only at their convenience.

Dr. Binayak Sen was fighting against violations of human rights and he was very critical of the numerous “encounters” being done in Chhattisgarh, while demanding a proper enquiry into these so called encounters. At the time of issue of this statement to the press, Binayak Sen stands charged for Sedition, conspiracy to wage war and conspiracy to commit other offences. Such post arrest and post FIR confabulations are part of the impunity, governments have granted to the law-enforcing establishment..

It is indeed a lesson for civil liberty and democratic groups to watch the increasing depravity of state institutions and the manner of their functioning which holds all issues of democracy and accountability in utter contempt. This unrelenting attack on civil liberty groups and activists is unprecedented; except during the Emergency, it was never common place to arrest senior and well known civil rights activists.

Jan Hastakshep appeals to all concerned citizens and civil right groups to come out and protest these increasing attacks on Indian democracy and insist for a more accountable administrative functioning. These increasing attacks by the right wing BJP led governments and the creation of state sponsored vigilante groups such as the Salwa Judum are clear indicators of the growing dangerous fascist trends in India. What needs to be kept in mind is that these trends are not any different in Congress or other party ruled states.

Jan Hastakshep strongly condemns the arrest of both PUCL activists and demands:
1. Immediate release of Mr. Rajender Sail and Mr. Binayak Sen and dropping of all criminal charges against them
2. Strict and swift action be taken against the armed forces and police personnel involved in the brutal murders of innocent citizens in these so called encounters.

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