Binayak Sen: The 'Naxal' doctor

Last Updated: Mon, May 25, 2009 11:54 hrs

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New Delhi: After over two years in jail, internationally renowned public health and human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen was on Monday granted bail by the Supreme Court.

“Its justice, if delayed,” said his relieved daughter Aprajita, as a vacation bench of the court headed comprising Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Deepak Verma granted the long-sought relief.

The human rights activist's lawyer argued in the Apex Court that his detention was illegal as there was no evidence linking him with Naxalites. Sen had petitioned the court to grant him bail as he was suffering from heart ailment and needed treatment at the Christian Medical College, Vellore.

Binayak Sen gets bail

Dr Sen was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 and has been under custody since May 14, 2007. The BJP-ruled state government had alleged that Sen was acting as a courier for an alleged Naxal leader in the jail.

His lawyers pleaded that the charge sheet against him has been filed and Sen was in jail during the investigation.

A Jonathan Mann awardee (2008),  Dr Sen is a well-known paediatrician and human rights defender.

Key events in Binayak Sen case since his arrest

Not only in India, but in countries around the world the pressure is mounting for the release of Dr Sen.

Last year, twenty-two Nobel laureates from around the world had appealed to the Indian government to allow Dr Binayak Sen to receive the 2008 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in person at the end of May 2008.

But Indian government denied the permission and Dr Sen’s wife had received the coveted global health award on his behalf.

Dr Sen has helped establish a hospital serving poor mine workers in the Chattisgarh region, founded a health and human rights organization that supports community health workers in 20 villages, and is the general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

The Supreme Court had rejected his bail application earlier, but granted the relief on Monday when he lawyers argued that the charge-sheet against him had been filed when the ailing social activist was in jail.

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