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Dr Binayak Sen released from jail after two years

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 26, 2009 19:56 IST
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Civil rights activist Binayak Sen, who was given bail by the Supreme Court on Monday,  walked free from Raipur jail on Tuesday, after two years of incarceration.

Coming out of the jail to a warm hug from his daughter and wife and to cheers of his supporters, a frail looking Sen told reporters that his movement against state violence would continue.

"I am very happy to be released. It feels very good to be out of jail," he said.

Asked if he felt that there was a threat to his life, Sen said, "I have a danger from the Chattisgarh government."

Sen, vice president of the People's Union of Civil Liberties, had been in jail since May 14, 2007, after the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was clamped on him. He was accused of acting as a courier for an alleged Naxal leader lodged in a Chattisgarh jail while on a visit as a doctor.

Replying to questions about his alleged support to Naxalism, Sen said he has condemned all forms of violence, whether by Naxals or by the police, or in the forceful displacement of people from their land.

Clad in a light blue khadi kurta, Sen held both his hands high when his supporters cheered him on his release. His wife Illina expressed happiness over Sen's release, saying "Truth and justice have prevailed finally".

Sen said the Chattisgarh Jansuraksha movement was still in place and there were several people who have been put in jail under 'that law' (UAPA).

"It is my responsibility to remind you all that many people have been troubled by such laws and I am not alone. I am a representative of the people," he said.

Sen, who has opposed the Salwa Judum movement against Naxals, vowed to continue doing so as "a lot of atrocities have been committed on people in course of the movement".

"The PUCL and my personal voice continue to be raised against the Salwa Judum. We will work for political engagement instead of military engagement. Military engagement should be stopped and peace formula should be restored. People should not be killed and political problems should be sorted out through discussions and talks," he said.

Sen said he had no message for the Maoists. "We have our own agenda that peace should be restored. We protest all kinds of military intervention -- be that of Maoists or the state administration or structural violence that helps poverty to prevail," he said.

Sen was awarded the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights for his services to poor and tribal communities and his unwavering commitment to civil liberties and human rights.

Even before his release, Sen was so eager to meet his family members that he peeped through the iron grill to have a glance of his daughter waiting outside.

Sen said he was looking forward to spending some time with his family and friends. "I have to pay some attention to my health," he said.

Sen has been living and working in Chhattisgarh since 1981 and raised his voice when the state government launched the Salwa Judum movement, a state-sponsored initiative to set up private militias to fight Naxals, saying it led to massive human rights violations.

Rights groups, intellectuals and over 2,000 doctors from all over the world have signed petitions for his release, the clamour for which increased with Nobel laureates joining the campaign.

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