Binayak Sen

Published : Feb 11, 2011 00:00 IST

THE first two characteristics of the heaven of freedom envisaged by Rabindranath Tagore were a fearless mind and the freedom to know and transmit ideas and opinions (Cover Story, January 28). The Preamble to the Constitution states that We, the People have given unto ourselves liberty of thought and expression. Therefore, the archaic sedition laws and most of the Acts that curtail people's freedom are unconstitutional and against the dreams of nationalists.

Over the years, the state has become inhuman and intolerant of criticism and alternative visions of development. Dr Binayak Sen is a man of compassion. As he works with tribal people and other deprived sections of society, he understands their pain and tries to present their case to the government. To consider his actions as being against the interests of the state is nothing but crookedness of mind.

S.S. Rajagopalan Chennai

IT is shocking that Binayak Sen has been convicted under Sections 120B and 124A of the Indian Penal Code. These sections give the police arbitrary powers and can be misused. There is no denying that the naxalites pose a huge law-and-order problem in many districts.

However, can people like Sen be labelled dissidents waging war against the state for empathising with them? If his conviction is not opposed by rights groups and conscientious citizens, the day may not be far when any citizen airing a dissenting view will end up behind bars.

Bichu Muttathara Pune

BINAYAK SEN deserves an honourable acquittal. His service to the downtrodden people of this country is something to be emulated. His conviction and sentencing are part of a deep-rooted conspiracy by the state to stop all protests. Sections 124A and 120 of the IPC, the Chhattishgarh Public Safety Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act should be scrapped entirely.

Purushuttam Roy Barman Agartala, Tripura

IS Binayak Sen conspiring against the state or is the state conspiring against him? His conviction goes against the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in Kedarnath vs the State of Bihar when it ruled that only when somebody incites direct violence can it be termed sedition. There is no evidence of Sen doing this, so why is he being framed under these charges? The judgment is a clear infringement of his constitutional rights. How can a body that works under the framework of the Constitution violate its own framework?

Siddhartha Shankar Mishra Sambalpur, Orissa

OPINION was divided on the verdict in the Ayodhya title suit, but the verdict against Binayak Sen has been condemned by everyone. He was convicted for his association with terror outfits, a claim that was not substantiated. 0If a person like him can be sentenced to life imprisonment in such an arbitrary manner, the Constitution has no meaning in Indian courts.

Ritvik Chaturvedi New Delhi

THE conviction of Binayak Sen is prima facie unjust and the life sentence awarded to him makes a mockery of justice. The trial court deliberately rejecting the evidence of some defendants and passing the sentence relying on the prosecution's weak evidence is unacceptable and raises serious doubts about the functioning of Indian democracy.

K.R. Srinivasan Secunderabad

THE sentence of life imprisonment for Binayak Sen has made a mockery of democracy. He is a well-known human rights activist and medical practitioner and has been doing a wonderful job among tribal communities. The judgment will raise doubts whether organisations such as the People's Union for Civil Liberties and the People's Union for Democratic Rights will be able to carry on their fight against the repression let loose by the state. One hopes that the higher courts will right this travesty of justice.

S. Murali Vellore, Tamil NaduElitist bias

THE column Moral elasticity by Jayati Ghosh (January 14) was a fine piece of writing. The issue discussed in it was the socio-economic, political and cultural manifestations of the dilution of the moral standards of society's elites.

In particular, the comment whether the time and privilege granted to political lobbyists like Niira Radia would be extended to trade union representatives or farmers' organisations is very relevant and true. It has been reported that top leaders of All India Kisan Sabha could not meet the Union Agriculture Minister even as the latter had time to wait for hours at an airport to receive cricket stars.

A ruling elite disconnected from the masses and vulnerable to pecuniary advantages and mundane pleasures spells disaster for society, the elites included.

S.V. Venugopalan ChennaiKannabiran

FIGHTER always (January 28) was a moving tribute to K.G. Kannabiran, who was a social worker and human rights votary. Whenever there was a disruption in the process of justice, he raised his voice.

The concept of empathising with others' sufferings is on the wane in today's materialistic society, and young people would do well to emulate Kannabiran.

B. Rajasekaran Bangalore

THE obituary revealed more than I knew about Kannabiran as a defender of the undefended and the defenceless. The nation, particularly Andhra Pradesh, has suffered a loss as there is no other serious defender of persons targeted by draconian state laws.

M. Rajaraman Cuddalore, Tamil NaduKarunakaran

KARUNAKARAN was an iconic character and undoubtedly a towering personality in the political arena of Kerala for decades together (Crafty patriarch, January 28). He was a humble Congress leader who nurtured and followed the culture of establishing a rapport with ordinary party workers at the grass-roots level and did not encourage coterie politics. This rare quality made him a genuine mass leader.

An intuitive politician, Karunakaran revalidated Kerala's coalition politics in 1982 by polarising politics around the Left and anti-Left platforms, which has stood the test of time.

Ettirankandath Krishnadas Palakkad, Kerala

KARUNAKARAN was a modern-day Dhrutharashtra who worked for the rise of his son, daughter and family members only. That is why he fell from grace. He misused the Emergency to crush his opponents. His son, K. Muraleedharan, lost the KPCC presidentship owing to Karunakuran's efforts to make him the Chief Minister. Karunakaran would ally with anyone, even with his arch rival the CPI(M), to grab power.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu Alappuzha, KeralaReservation

GUJJARS' agitation for reservation in government jobs has become an annual feature (Buying time, January 28). The State government, and particularly the Railways, should take measures to prevent the tracks from being illegally occupied in the future. CCTV and electronic fencing could be used to monitor the tracks.

In India, one section of society inconveniences the rest in an attempt to force the government to fulfil its demands. Lakhs of railway passengers suffered because of the agitation while the government remained a mute spectator. Instead of asking for job reservation, the Gujjar leaders should make the Gujjar community employable by way of enhancing its members' skills.

Deendayal M. Lulla MumbaiSalman Taseer

IT is unfortunate that religious extremism is gaining ground in Pakistan (In the name of God, January 28). The latest example of this was the cold-blooded murder of Salman Taseer by his own bodyguard, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, allegedly because of Taseer's views on his country's blasphemy laws. Qadri was probably enraged by Taseer's statement that the blasphemy law was a black law and man-made, not God-made.

Groups that propagate extremist views of Islam should realise that killing those who do not subscribe to their views benefits neither Islam nor Pakistan.

It is time for the political parties of Pakistan to join hands and condemn the killing. If they fail in this task, Pakistan will slide back to the dark ages, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah's dream of a free, progressive Pakistan where people belonging to all religions and communities coexist peacefully will be shattered.

S. Balakrishnan Jamshedpur Jharkhand

THE growing extremism in Pakistan brings to mind Jinnah's speech on Pakistan's Independence day wherein he said that one's religion was not important for the progress of Pakistan. However, a few fundamentalist groups have wrongly interpreted the values that symbolise Islam and carry out evil actions such as Taseer's killing. It is sad to watch him being defamed and his killer being praised.

Syed Khaja New DelhiAbysmal hostels

WHETHER hostels belong to medical colleges, engineering institutes or universities, they are in a pathetic state, and this is not confined to Tamil Nadu alone (Hellhole hostels, January 28). Canteens serve bland food, toilets overflow, and there is no steady water supply or security. Good hostel facilities are necessary to ensure quality education.

Niamul Hossain Mallick Baramuria West BengalCongress' history

THIS is with reference to the article Historical half-truths (January 28). Unlike the China and other societies, there is a paucity of written records of India's long history. Historical events are often turned into myths in which fact and fantasy get mixed.

The current book on the history of Congress is at best a Congress Nama, and that its authors had selective amnesia is not surprising.

H.N. Ramakrishna BangaloreCorruption

PEOPLE are confused why the Prime Minister is so eager to testify before the Public Accounts Committee, which is headed by a member of the Opposition, but unwilling to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which is usually headed by a member of the ruling party (Legislative logjam, January 14).

Whether it is the JPC or the PAC which is going to probe the 2G scam, people just want the truth.

Niloy Kumar Roy Durganagar, W.B.

IN India corruption and nepotism are universal. Many of those who claim not to be corrupt have not had the opportunity to indulge in corruption and nepotism.

The Congress is mainly responsible for corruption because it has been the ruling party for more than five decades. During its regime, corruption has spread to every institution, including the defence establishment and the judiciary.

Ramesh Kotian Udupi, KarnatakaJudiciary

IS it possible to stop the family members, friends and relatives of a person who has been elevated to the post of judge of a High Court from practising in his/her court (Uncles' on Bench, January 14)? Instead, why can the judges not be posted outside their own States? Subsequently, the transfer of High Court judges to their own States should be prohibited.

This will improve the image of the judiciary and free judges from any obligation they may feel towards family members, friends and relatives. High Court judges should be selected purely on the basis of their legal knowledge and integrity.

The judiciary is more important than the executive or the legislature because, if the need arises, both those branches of government seek the opinion of the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court in the discharge of its duty is not permitted to seek the advice of Parliament or the executive.

G. Govind Reddy HyderabadKerala

THE Kerala Tourism advertisement Your Moment is Waiting stands out but does not depict what the State stands for: its culture, tradition or beauty (Special Feature: Rethinking Kerala, December 31). When I first saw it, I thought it was advertising some foreign land or maybe a spa. I was shocked when I realised it was by Kerala Tourism. The advertisement has been designed keeping foreigners in mind, with a Swedish model and music by London-based musicians.

Compared with the three Madhya Pradesh Tourism advertisements that brilliantly depict Hindustan ka dil dekho, those of Kerala Tourism lack that stroke of brilliance but might still rake in the moollah through foreign tourists.


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