Binayak Sen’s supporters on 10-day fast for his release


New Delhi : Supporters of Binayak Sen, a rights campaigner and doctor jailed in Raipur for allegedly helping Maoists, went on a 10-day hunger strike from Monday in five countries to demand his release.

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The hunger strike started simultaneously in India, Pakistan, Thailand, the US and Britain. More than 100 organisations have expressed support to the fast and are campaigning demanding justice for Sen, said a supporter.

The fast has been organised by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). Sen is the vice president of the PUCL national unit and general secretary of its Chhattisgarh wing.

In India, the fast has been organised in Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh. Sen has been jailed for the past one year on the charge of helping Maoist rebels in the state.

Sen and PUCL had opposed the state government-backed Salwa Judum, an armed militia of villagers backed by the state government that fights Maoists.

Last month, 22 Nobel laureates from around the world had appealed to the Indian government to allow Sen to receive the 2008 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in person. But the government refused and Sen’s wife had to receive the award on his behalf.

Sen helped establish a hospital in Chhattisgarh to serve poor mine workers in the region. He also founded a health and human rights organisation that supports community health workers in 20 villages.