Unrequited: Binayak Sen

By Saswat Pattanayak

If poverty is the biggest crime against humanity, the Indian democracy must rightly be accused of perpetuating it. Suffering from the most vicious cycles of attack against the defenseless inside their sovereign lands, the long-standing victims of indifference – the indigenous and the poor – who have been deprived of basic healthcare, are the invisible targets of state-sponsored terrorism. As a result of which, conscientiously progressive professionals such as Dr. Binayak Sen have stirred up proactive as well as revolutionary movements to oppose official assaults on the deprived sections of the population.

Binayak Sen Saswat Pattanayak

During the past year, Sen has emerged as the most renowned of names in Indian peoples’ continued struggle against state oppressions. From establishing rural community health centers to workers cooperative hospitals, Dr. Sen and his comrades of PUCL (Peoples Union for Civil Liberties) have contributed in making healthcare accessible to the poor. Their endeavors have been well recognized and awarded. But unlike most community workers, Dr. Sen has chosen to extend his works to be affected by a larger philosophy of social justice. And here is where the State has taken a strong exception. Instead of banning private militia outfits such as Salwa Judum which have outgrown their purposes, if any, the official administrations of Chhattisgarh have had arrested one of the most vocal opponents against human rights abuse, Dr. Sen.

What is clearly known are the series of fake encounters, displacement of indigenous peoples, mass rapes and murders carried out through the guise of Salwa Judum. What is also clearly known are the illustriously noble deeds by the social activists inspired by Dr. Sen to benefit the most needy. And in the age of abusive democracies, what has also become evidently known through arrest, torture and subsequent bail of Dr. Sen, is that the Indian government has taken the side of the terrorists, while punishing the caregivers.