As the Chhattisgarh high court on Thursday dismissed the bail application of rights activist Binayak Sen, his wife and friends expressed shock at the verdict and said their faith has been shaken. Nevertheless, they said they would not give up hope and would approach the Supreme Court.
Sen's wife Ilina Sen termed the court decision "very disappointing".
"My faith has been shaken. This was not a case at all. The charges like waging war against the state and sedition and all that should not have been framed in the first place, but they got framed and then we had a facade of a trial which continued for two years," she said.
"If this is not a kangaroo court, then what is a kangaroo court?" she asked.
"It’s very disappointing but I am not going to stop now, (I) will approach the Supreme Court because I have no other options," Ilina told IANS.
Anasuya Sen, mother of Binayak Sen, said that she was confident that the Supreme Court's verdict will be in her son's favour.
"I am hurt and cannot express my agony. My daughter-in-law will appeal to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court's verdict will go in favour of my son," she said over the phone from Kolkata.
"As a mother, I know that my son is innocent. He is an honest Gandhian and a great man," she added.
The rights activist's brother Dipankar Sen, who is in Bilaspur, said: "Everyone was asking me not to have high expectations but I was still hoping. I am an extremely optimistic person and hope is the driving force in the family now."
"The next logical step will depend on the team leader, my sister-in-law Ilina Sen, and that will probably be going to the Supreme Court. We have to get her husband, her daughters' father and our brother out of jail and we will do what is required to do," he added.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh termed the high court ruling as "extremely sad". Agnivesh, who is at present in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region, told reporters: "I was not expecting such a sad decision. Sen is a great social worker, I am really pained."
Rajendra K Sail, former Chhattisgarh chief of Sen's rights group People's Union for Civil Liberties, said: "It’s highly unfortunate, I was expecting justice from the high court at least, but here too I was stunned."
He said the rights activists will now fight the case afresh in the Supreme Court.
Chhattisgarh's senior minister Brijmohan Agrawal welcomed the high court judgment and described it "a vindication of the state government's stand on Binayak Sen".
"Now when the high court has dismissed the bail application, it is better for the so-called human rights activists in India and abroad to keep away from attacking the Chhattisgarh government and state police," he said.
He added: "The court verdict has again exposed the real face of Sen".
The division bench of justice TP Sharma and justice RL Jhanwar rejected Sen's bail plea in a jam-packed courtroom in Bilaspur, some 110 km from state capital Raipur.
Sen is at present lodged in a central jail in Raipur after he was sentenced by a trial court on December 24 for sedition and links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata-based businessman Piyush Guha, both of whom have also been sentenced to life.
Sen was accused of acting as a courier between Sanyal and Guha.