Free Binayak Sen

Goodness. Seems like every post today has an imperative title, and a reference to innocent causalties in needless wars. This post is something that came up a few weeks back at my Cody’s reading in Berkeley.

One of the questions was about Binayak Sen, and while Preeti Shekar from ASATA gave a fine answer about the situation, we were both swimming a little on the details.

The short version of the story is this. The government of Chhattisgarh, a state in India, is fighting a war against Naxalites, the Mao-inspired rural agitators, whose bretheren have recently succeeded in overthrowing the monarchy in Nepal. Land reform is never far from the surface of trouble in rural areas, and this is one such case.

As part of the government’s tactics, the government sponsored the Salwa Judum movement, to foment decentralised resistance to the Naxalites.

What Salwa Judum did, as HumanRights Watch reports, though included “killings, beatings of critics, burning of villages, and forced relocation of villagers into government camps.”

Dr Binayak Sen had the temerity to point this out. He’s been in jail, facing the impossibly circular charge of ‘unlawful activities’, for just over a year. He’s a renowned human rights activist, clearly a force for good, and a reminder that the democracy in the world’s largest democracy is no less under threat than in Europe, North America, or anywhere else.

Check out the fine resources at the Free Binayak Sen website, and watch for future activities and actions.