Fate of Dr. Binayak Sen Will Show Real India

By Ramesh Gopalakrishnan, Amnesty International India Researcher

Dr. Binayak Sen in Chhattisgarh.

Ilina Sen says she has no plans to go to Bilaspur this Wednesday. That’s the day the high court in this central Indian state of Chhattisgarh will resume hearing on the appeal filed by her husband, the acclaimed Indian human rights activist, Dr. Binayak Sen.

Dr. Sen is appealing against the life-term sentence handed over to him last month by a district court here which convicted him for sedition and conspiracy against the State. Unsure when he would be released following the hearing, or whether he would be released at all, Ilina says she plans to meet him two days later in the relative quiet of the prison here.

The conviction and the unusually harsh sentence handed down to Dr. Sen, a proponent of peace and non-violence and pioneer of medical work, have drawn wide protests in India and in the international arena, including condemnation from intellectuals, social activists and workers, medical professionals and artists.

Dr. Sen’s case is a truly test case for India. And the world will be watching this week to see the result.