|Christians show solidarity with Sen; appeals to PM for release|
About 200 people including leaders of the Christian community and supporters of Dr Binayak Sen on Tuesday took part in a candle light protest at the India Gate in New Delhi.
Carrying signs and chanting slogans, the protesters braved the severe cold demanding the release of Dr Sen who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Raipur court. They also spoke up for activist Teesta Setalvad who anticipated arrest in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Representatives of the National Council of Churches, the Evangelical Fellowship, the Catholic Church and the All India Christian Council spoke briefly expressing shock and dismay at the unjust incarceration of Dr Sen by the Chhattisgarh government.
In a letter written to the Prime Minister and signed by some prominent Christian leaders, the church community expressed its distress over the turn of events saying, “Today the largest democracy in the world is faced with similar situations [as at the time of Jesus]. It is in deep distress and anguish that we point out to you that Human rights defenders are being targeted, and silenced, by all sorts of forces – from sections of the judiciary, administration and police on the one hand to political extremists on the other hand.”
The letter further states, “Small and perhaps powerless we may be, but as a community and as people committed to peace with justice, we cannot remain as silent spectators to such erosion of truth and injustice. We are in fact in duty bound to speak out, for these elements of civil society.
"It should be cause of concern to the emerging superpower that it has not been able to build up a sufficiently strong civil society and civil liberty mass movements to match the economic growth. These are required to monitor fault lines and lacunae in the administration of justice."
The letter urged for a review of Dr Sen’s life sentencing and also for the revoking of the police case against Ms Setalvad.
In addition to that, the government was called to bring forth a legislation to ensure the security and freedom of human rights and Rights to Information activists across the country, and to also urgently enact legislation to prevent communal violence.
The candle light protest ended with a prayer for peace in India, especially in the troubled areas and for justice to all.
Christian Today India,
January 05, 2011