Abu Zafar, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: A group of artist, journalist, activists, filmmakers, and musicians came together with a festival named ‘Justice on Trial’ to raise voices against conviction of Doctor Binayak Sen in New Delhi on Teusday.
Binayak Sen is an Indian pediatrician, public health specialist and activist convicted on charges of sedition, currently serving life term in Raipur Central Jail in Chhattisgarh. He is the national Vice-President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). He is also one of the 2011 winners of the Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar.
Dr. Binayak Sen’s wife Ilina Sen, who is also a professor, too participated in this festival. Sharing her feelings about the festival she said “The campaign against the conviction and incarceration of Dr. Binayak Sen has to be seen in the larger context of lending our voices against the gross injustice that so many of the people of our country experience every day.”
The discussion was moderated by Vrinda Grover, human rights lawyer. Ms. Sen and social activist Aruna Roy spoke about the present situation and challenges of Indian democracy.
Cultural program Manzil / Faith Gonsalves was considered very effective. Audience also sang the song “Daulat badi hai ya shuhrat badi hai ya qismat badi hai ya mohabbat” (wealth is important, or fame is important, or destiny is important, or love is important) with the performers.
Annad Patwardhan, noted documentary filmmakers showed his film Prisoners of Conscience which focuses on the State of Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi from in 70s.
Anand remembered the days he spent with Binayak Sen: “I met Binayak almost 25 years ago showing this film at that time he was working with Chahtis Garh Mukti Morcha. I spent a couple of days with him at that time. I found him a man with a loving heart. ”
Actress Sharmila Tagore was also present in this discussion where she termed Binayak Sen as an achiever. “He is an achiever. I value the work he had done. We have high hopes that bail will be granted to him,” she said.
Writer Arundhati Roy, Kavita Shirivastava, general secretary of People Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan also participated on the last day of this festival.