Nepal’s red health workers ask India to free Binayak Sen

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : Condemning an Indian court verdict sentencing renowned rights activist Binayak Sen to life imprisonment on sedition charges, nine health organisations affiliated to the opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) have asked India to free the physician, who has devoted his life to the welfare of tribals.

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All the nine organisations under the All Nepal Progressive Health Workers’ Association are related to healthcare in Nepal.

In a statement, the nine associations said the case against Sen, who was sentenced on Christmas Eve, was cooked up after the Indian government arrested him in the tribal-dominated Jharkhand state two years ago but was forced to free him when it failed to produce any proof to show he was linked to terrorist activities.

“Fake cases were manufactured against Sen as a retaliatory measure (for his work to promote tribals’ rights) and have been strongly opposed by Amnesty International and other international rights bodies,” the statement said.

“It has also been strongly opposed by the medical fraternity.

“The state has no credible evidence against Sen who is innocent. So we health workers are raising our voice to ask for his immediate release.”

The Maoist affiliated health workers’ support for the jailed Indian doctor comes even as their mother party, the biggest in Nepal’s parliament, remains silent.

Plagued by internal fighting and unable to capture power, the Maoists in Nepal have been repeatedly flayed by other Maoist parties abroad for their inability to empathise with international communist issues.

It took the once underground party almost months to issue a public condemnation for the killing of Indian Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar, better known as Azad, who Indian police claim was killed during an “encounter” in July.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected])