A stream of witnesses deposed, mostly police officers and jail officials. As unsubstantial as earlier ones, and many of them not directly involving Binayak. The most relevant were officials who deposed about the visits that Binayak made to the jail to visit Narayan Sanyal, the alleged Maoist leader. The attempt was to show that Binayak had visited him as a "relative" to "discuss family matters", citing the visitor's book at the jail. It was also alleged that during one of these visits a certain "incriminating" letter was passed on by the accused to Binayak. It was brought out by cross-examination that the visitors' book was routinely maintained by one of the jail inmates, and not by the deposing official, and all of Binayak's applications, signed as "Gen Sec, PUCL, Chhattisgarh" were placed as exhibits. The official also denied any possibility of any letter having been leaked out of the jail during his charge, and admitted that his earlier contention that any letter must have been let out when he was looking elsewhere was merely speculative. Were the matter not so serious, one could be forgiven for believing that it was a hilarious comedy show. [Emphasis added - GP]
About 47 witnesses have been examined to date, of the original 80-odd, not counting those related to the supplemental chargesheet. Dates for hearings have been fixed until June. Raman and Anant have them, and will post them soon.
Binayak looked well, smiling calmly through the dreary proceedings. He was curious about the mfc meet and about numerous public matters. He has sent his love and best wishes to all of you. He gets mail regularly from all over the world, and am sure he would love to hear from each of us. Please do write to him at the Raipur Jail address, and send him stuff he can read. (Does he get the bulletin, I wonder?)
And please volunteer to attend the hearings as soon as the dates are posted. Local arrangements for stay can be made at affordable rates - also being organized. You must not miss the honor of being mentioned in the court visitors' book, and experiencing the warmth of the policemen guarding the "dreaded terrorist".
The theatre continues.
Meanwhile, here is a poem in Urdu/Hindi about Binayak, being recited by Rizvi Amir Abbas Syed, the poet himself: