South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The Chhattisgarh High Court on Thursday rejected human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen’s plea for bail.

Sen’s lawyers will now move the Supreme Court to secure his bail.

The High Court had on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail plea even as the state government opposed it on grounds of his links with Maoists.

Sen is at present lodged in a jail in Raipur after he was sentenced to life term by a trial court in Raipur on December 24 for sedition, criminal conspiracy and collusion with Maoists, particularly with ideologue Narayan Sanyal.

Sen was first jailed in May 2007 on charges of acting as a courier for jailed Maoist Sanyal. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court on May 25, 2009.

Rights activists, NGOs and supporters across the world have begun a ‘free Binayak Sen campaign’, mounting pressure on the state and central governments to free the jailed activist. They describe Sen as “a distinguished paediatrician and tireless human rights activist, being held under draconian state laws”.

They argue that Sen invited the wrath of the state after he publicly criticised the Salwa Judum, the controversial anti-Maoist movement in Bastar.

Earlier this week, a group of 40 Nobel laureates from 12 countries rallied behind Sen and called for his immediate release.

The group, which includes Indian-origin scientist Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who got a Nobel in Chemistry in 2009, issued an appeal that Sen’s bail plea “be heard without delay under the highest standards of Indian law”.

“We respectfully express our astonishment and dismay at the unjust life sentence handed down last month in India to a fellow scientist and human rights advocate, 61-year-old Dr Binayak Sen,” said the appeal posted on website, which has been set up by Sen’s supporters.