Dr. Annapurna Nori has given me permission to publish her response to the smear campaign against Dada that I wrote about under the title Dr. Binayak Sen's Trial By Media.
Here it is in its entirety. It's much more direct and forceful than my own response, which relied on some of her points. It has also been published today on the HindToday blog.
I was shocked to read this piece. Is this a trial by media? There are so many assumptions, so much conjecture; that it seriously borders on slander. Statements such as "confidential report from the reputed source in police" do not make your position credible; they are no different to the gossip columns in magazines such as Stardust which quote so-called reputable sources to spread malicious lies and rumours.
Association with extremists is a serious charge. Dr Sen has not been charged with this or anything. As you yourself said, there has been no chargesheet to date. If your intention is to have a serious discussion, then do so using accurate facts. Do not smear the name of an outstanding physician who has worked for decades with the marginalised and the downtrodden.
Let us remember the basic premise of the Indian justice system - a person is innocent till proven guilty. The onus is on the PROSECUTION to provide evidence as proof, it is NOT UPTO Dr Sen or the PUCL to prove him innocent. It is not upto you to question his innocence. Neither the police nor the prosecution has provided any convincing evidence to demonstrate his connection with Naxalites. Letters found on other suspected people which refer to him DO NOT demonstrate a connection. As a civil rights activist, Dr Sen's work involved ensuring that prisoners were being treated according to the Basu protocol. Hence it is quite likely his name would be mentioned by prisoners of ALL backgrounds, not just suspected extremists.
I too am a doctor. Some of my patients are drug addicts. If these patients discuss me amongst themselves, does that make me a drug addict?
You opened your posting with a question about the denial of bail. In an environment which invokes draconian security legislation, denial of bail is completely meaningless. It does not mean that Dr Sen is guilty. In our current climate of police corruption and brutality, their so-called "confidential report" (if it exists) without any proof is complete nonsense.
I found the discussion of Dr Sen's personal assets irrelevant and rather ignorant. Anyone who has a love of books knows that they are collected over many many years. Many of my books were handed to me by my grandfather and father. Many others among my collection are from second hand shops, and cost very little. Having a lot of books DOES NOT mean that the person is rich. It only means they like to read!
The media's responsiblity is to provide FACTUAL and ACCURATE coverage of the situation, not indulge in vicarious gossip and dangerous conversation.