Anger over life term for In­dian doc­tor

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

NEW DELHI: In­ter­na­tional aca­demics on Tues­day joined civil rights groups in con­demn­ing an In­dian court for sen­tenc­ing a doc­tor to life im­pris­on­ment on charges of help­ing Maoist rebels.

Bi­nayak Sen, a pae­di­a­tri­cian and ac­tivist, was ar­rested in 2007 on charges of wag­ing war against In­dia in Ch­hat­tis­garh state-a strong­hold of the coun­try's Maoist in­sur­gency.

Dur­ing his trial, pros­e­cu­tors had made the case that Sen was in­volved in help­ing Maoists cre­ate an ur­ban net­work and had acted as a go­b­e­tween for a Maoist leader and a busi­ness­man.

Noam Chom­sky, a renowned left-wing scholar and pro­fes­sor in the United States, led dozens of In­dian aca­demics in a let­ter crit­i­cis­ing the court's de­ci­sion on Fri­day.

"We are deeply shocked by the judg­ment of a Ch­hat­tis­garh court hold­ing the hu­man rights ac­tivist Dr. Bi­nayak Sen to be guilty of sedi­tion, and sen­tenc­ing him to life im­pris­on­ment," the let­ter said.

It said Sen had been handed a "sen­tence whose sav­agery is un­be­liev­able".

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said on Satur­day that it con­sid­ered Sen a "pris­oner of con­science", adding that the doc­tor had been "con­victed un­der laws that are im­per­mis­si­bly vague".

Sen has al­ways main­tained his in­no­cence, and on Tues­day re­leased a state­ment via Te­helka news mag­a­zine say­ing ev­i­dence against him had been fal­si­fied.

"I am be­ing made an ex­am­ple of by the state govern­ment of Ch­hat­tis­garh as a warn­ing to oth­ers not to ex­pose the patent tram­pling of hu­man rights tak­ing place in the state," he said.

Be­fore Sen's ar­rest, he had been run­ning health clin­ics and train­ing health work­ers in Ch­hat­tis­garh's tribal com­mu­ni­ties, among the poor­est peo­ple in In­dia and whose plight the Maoist rebels claim to cham­pion.

Street ral­lies in New Delhi and Face­book cam­paigns have also been trig­gered by Sen's con­vic­tion, which made front­page news in In­dia. -Ap

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