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Tuesday , April 19 , 2011
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Never betrayed country, says Sen
Ilina Sen at the news conference on Monday. (PTI)

Raipur, April 18 (PTI): Shortly after his release from jail, Binayak Sen tonight asserted that he was not a “traitor” and made it clear he was against all forms of violence.

The rights activist said the Supreme Court observations in his case would have “deep political implications”. He welcomed law minister Veerappa Moily’s statement about taking a “re-look” at the sedition laws, and called for a civil society campaign against such colonial statutes.

“I know in my heart that I have never betrayed our country. I am in no way a traitor,” the 61-year-old paediatrician said, asserting the charge of sedition against him was “misplaced”.

He said the Supreme Court decision to grant him bail was a “big” one. “It is a big decision by the Supreme Court, whose political implication is very deep,” said Sen, who was flanked by his wife, mother and two daughters at the media interaction.

The Supreme Court had said Sen could at best be a “Maoist sympathiser” but had not done anything that could amount to sedition. The man himself, however, made it clear that he was not a sympathiser of any group.

“There is no evidence in this matter (links with Maoists),” he said.

Sen, a vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, began his media interaction saying he was “very happy” at being released on bail and thanked the public for its support.

“There was a national and international campaign for me. I am not alone.”

He said thousands like him were behind bars in various parts of the country under sedition charges.

“We are very much heartened to take note of the comments of Mr Veerappa Moily with reference to Section 121 and Section 124 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code),” he said.

“We want a situation... in which the definition of loyalty to the people of this country is more in keeping with the free citizens of a free country rather than something that we have inherited from our colonial masters.”

Hours after the Supreme Court granted bail to Sen on Friday, Moily had described the sedition laws, framed by the British Raj, as “outdated”. He had promised to ask the Law Commission to take a look at them following consultations with home minister P. Chidambaram.

Sen reaffirmed there must be an end to the Salwa Judum movement for the sake of peace in Chhattisgarh — a stand that apparently lies at the root of the state government’s hostility towards him.

The Salwa Judum is a state-backed anti-Maoist militia that has been accused of tormenting tribals. The Chhattisgarh government claims it has been disbanded but many rights activists deny this.

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