Express News Service Posted: Apr 28, 2009 at 0235 hrs
People from various walks of life in Pune on Monday issued an open letter to L K Advani, Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, asking for his intervention to ensure the speedy release of Dr Binayak Sen.
The BJP leads the government in Chhattisgarh which is responsible for keeping Sen in jail since nearly two years without any evidence, the letter said. The letter states that the Chhattisgarh government “continues to oppose even the bail application for this public-spirited doctor and civil liberties activist. Until now the trial of Dr Sen has not thrown up even a shred of evidence to justify any of these charges against him.”
This open letter has been signed by personalities from different fields including Bhai Vaidya, Baba Adhav, Justice B G Kolse-Patil, Dr Shriram Lagoo, Deepa Lagoo, Vidya Bal, Dr Sulabha Brahme, Prof Jaya Sagade, Atul Pethe, Makarand Sathe, Prof Suhas Palshikar, Prof Yash Sumant, Dr Vinay Kulkarni, Dr Abhijit Vaidya, Dr Nandu Kanade, a press release issued here stated.
The letter states that “given the lack of evidence in the trial of Dr Sen, the Chhattisgarh government should at least agree in court to bail being granted to Dr Sen.
“In the letter, attention has been drawn to international recognition of Sen’s outstanding work in the sphere of public health. It mentions that Dr Sen has been awarded the Paul Harrison award from CMC Vellore (2004), the RR Keithan Gold medal from the Indian Academy of Social Sciences (2007), and the Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights from the Global Health Council (2008). In May 2008, 22 Nobel Prize winners signed a public statement calling Dr Sen a “professional colleague” and asking for his release. The signatories have also drawn attention to the deteriorating health of Dr Sen, and the fact that the heart specialist appointed by the court has recommended that he should be transferred to CMC, Vellore for specialised investigation and possible operative treatment for his heart condition.
The letter laments that the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr Raman Singh, has not responded to repeated appeals over the last nearly two years to withdraw charges against Dr Sen.
The signatories urged Advani that “as citizens of India, we call upon you to take a broader view and prevail upon the BJP led State Government in Chhattisgarh, to ensure that the unjustified charges against Dr Binayak Sen are dropped, enabling his release. This is an issue of protecting basic democratic rights laid down in the Indian constitution, as well as an opportunity for BJP to demonstrate its sincerity regarding its promise of good governance.”