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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Sen's conviction a ridiculous use of laws: Amartya

PTI  New Delhi, December 28, 2010
First Published: 18:34 IST(28/12/2010) | Last Updated: 18:46 IST(28/12/2010)

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Tuesday threw his weight behind the campaign for release of rights activist Binayak Sen noting that his conviction on sedition charges was a "ridiculous" use of laws.

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Expressing the hope that the Supreme Court would give relief to the activist, an "outraged and upset" Sen said "deep miscarriage of justice" in this case should be aired and be known to the people as well as the court.

"That is the reason for my willingness to make a statement in a case where I am outraged, upset and feel unjustly treated," Sen told The Telegraph newspaper.

He said that the Chhattisgarh court judgment was a "huge perversion of our system of justice, and particularly of the laws concerning sedition."

"It is not at all clear, to start with, that the thing he has been exactly accused of - of passing letters - has been really proved beyond doubt," he said.

The eminent economist said that even if he had passed on the letters, he had not incited anyone to rise in violent protest or rebellion.

"In fact, we know that in his writings he has written against the use of violence in political struggle, arguing that this is neither correct, nor is it ultimately successful," Sen said adding that one also has to take into account the character of the person.

Describing the activist as a "very dedicated social worker", Sen said, "to turn the dedicated service of someone who drops everything to serve the cause of neglected people into a story of the seditious use of something...the whole thing seems a ridiculous use of the laws of democratic India."

He said that in spite of the similarities of our names, Binayak is no relation of his. "But then he is also a relation of mine as an Indian citizen, and he is a relation of yours too as an Indian citizen.

He is a relation of a lot of people as a global citizen, particularly a relation of those who, like him, fight against injustice in the world, right across the globe," Sen said.

The Nobel laureate said that one has to bear in mind that this is only the first step in a state that has been extraordinarily keen in keeping Binayak behind bars.

"If the high court in Chhattisgarh has its thinking straight and unbiased, it will overturn the decision."

"But if it turns out that - as it happened in Gujarat - justice is difficult to get in the state, which is under the control of a political regime that is keen on justifying its policies, some of which are very deeply problematic, rather than bringing justice to people living in Chhattisgarh, then the issue will have to be dealt at Supreme Court," he said.


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