A person, apart from what he is and does, is further known for what kind of friends he loves to keeps. While work of Dr. Binayak Sen as a devoted doctor serving poor tribal in a difficult and inhospitable environment is impressive, but his close association with committed Maoists busy waging a bloody war with Indian government does add certain elements of valid concerns. The highly secretive Maoists ideologues are not known to socialize with all and sundry, being so concerned and eager to lift poor out of their miseries as soon as possible. Working with Swiss clock like precision, they abhor wasting precious time, energies with people who don't agree with their agenda or have no ability and will to help them in attaining their lofty objectives.
There are many in India, who have chosen to erroneously compare Dr. Binayak Sen with 19th century French army officer Alfred Dreyfus, who was wrongly convicted of passing on sensitive information to Germans. If these intellectuals and social scientists are so impressed by the Dreyfus affair, than there is a more than thirty years old, Samba Spy Scandal crying for their immediate attention and prompt action. Perhaps they do not know or care that more than 50 young officers of Indian army were wrongly accused, tortured and convicted for being Pakistani spies. Unfortunately, there are no Indian avatars of Emil Zola's, Poincare's, Clemenceau's and Anatole France’s to speak aloud and diligently fight for these destroyed and broken families, for their extreme plight and shame heaped by an insensitive Indian army and top politicians, who never helped them.
But certainly whatever happens at least the highly selective and focused PUCL would not be helping these unfortunate army officers. As their office bearers and world wide net work of learned leftist intellectuals afflicted with dreams of impending revolution along with deep sympathies and unflinching support for “Gandhians with Guns” would not be impressed by plight of mere soldiers, the lackeys of a fake democracy.
On numerous occasions, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties has received valid criticism for its cozy closeness with Maoists. The conviction of Binayak Sen, its boss in Chattisgarh, based on statements made during the trial by more than sixty witnesses had only added to allegations of a deep nexus. But being packed with known Maoists apologists and closet communists, the lofty entity does not care for any bourgeois criticism.
The democracy is continuously vouched and its power is being challenged to save Dr. Sen, who chose to closely hobnob and help a person who has professed his deep disdain for the same democracy and strong beliefs in violent struggle.
To his credit, Dr. Binayak Sen has been able to accumulate an impressive army of very influential friends and supporters, the world over. Right from Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, the redoubtable lover of dictatorships and Marxist hegemony Noam Chomsky, historian Rommila Thapar and the well known, rabid Maoists apologist and supporter Arundhati Roy along with former chief minister of MP, congressman Digvijay Singh-the new mascot and mouthpiece of minority vote bank politics. More than eighty luminaries from various walks of life have strongly advised for his immediate release.
Indian police and various investigation agencies are not known for their professional ethos and practices. They have shown their sheer incompetence repeatedly across length and breath of India. But they are very careful in what they do and hardly touch a well known and influential personality, in spite of his or her crimes, because of real possibility of extreme pressures from all possible corners. More over, state boss of PUCL is not a small fry by any standards and is prone call media honchos and a press conference at drop of a hat. The canny police officers do fear bad press for various internal and external reasons. These over worked and presumably corrupt policemen and their ancient apparatus are no match in playing the clock and dagger game against highly motivated and savvy Maoists ideologues. The lower bureaucracy and some policeman are said to be in hand and glove with ultras, who pay or push them with their deep pockets and intimidation.
But if, some senior policemen or their right wing political bosses were out to implicate Dr. Sen, they have certainly created a huge mess by resorting to classical bumbling acts.Otherwise Indian policemen have also been known to employ very effective means to harass, implicate and even exterminate the hated person, with out even a trace left. The pathetically novice bungling and shoddy investigations of the case, however do not point to any well organized campaign to implicate Dr. Sen. Or, perhaps their nefarious designs were defeated by “democratic tools” of corruption at lower levels, so graphically explained by the doctor himself.
But then, as Ernest Renan had said, the human stupidity is the only thing that gives an idea of the infinite.
According to government figures violence by Maoist rebels in India peaked in 2010, leaving a record 1,169 people dead which started on a bloody push with the massacre of 76 policemen by rebels in the insurgency-riven state of Chhattisgarh. The death toll for year 2009 stood at 591.
It is apparent that the Maoists have not only spurned the offer of peace talks but have also chose to escalate the conflict. Mineral-rich Chhattisgarh remained main theater of Maoist violence during 2010 with 306 murders, including 142 civilians and 164 security men, according to latest figures, published by the state government.
Before dwelling on the well known plight of Dr. Binayak Sen, and world wide clamor for his immediate release, it is important to know about another lead actors in this curious real life drama. Like a suspense thriller, the story is teeming with shadowy actors, sinister intrigues, secrete parlays, jail breaks, armed attacks, dubious traders, bungling policemen, jungle hide outs, guns and stench of death.
Narayan Sanyal, is the well known ideologue of the armed struggle and one of the leaders of Naxalbari movement. He was one of the members of the CPI (Maoist) central committee and chief of its central-eastern regional bureau monitoring the revolutionary affairs in Orissa and Chhattisgarh.He had joined the party while working as a senior bank employee in Siliguri in West Bengal in 1966. Working diligently under late Charu Majumdar, he was instrumental in spreading the tentacles of the party far and wide. Sanyal was jailed for five years after his arrest at Ranchi in 1972 and rejoined the underground cadres, after jumping bail in 1977.
He was alleged to be the lead planner of the Peoples War Group attack on former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at Alipiri in Tirupati in 2003. Other audacious revolutionary ventures include the Jehananabad jail break that resulted in liberation of 340 prisoners, including several Maoist activists, during 2005
Sanyal has been reportedly involved in more than twenty serious cases of Maoist-sponsored violence in different eastern States, including the attack on the Police Superintendent’s convoy in Bastar in January 2005. He was also involved in the attack on the police headquarters in Korraput in Orissa in 2004, also described as an able strategist who helped bring about the merger of various Maoist groups since 2000, a hardliner who believes in armed struggle rather than parliamentary democracy. Narayan Sanyal had insisted that the party must operate underground and had differed strongly with veteran leader Kanu Sanyal, who over the years had become disenchanted with the violence resorted to by the Maoists.
In the distance past, Kanu Sanyal had angrily differed with late Charu Mazumdar’s line of swift class annihilation to create a proletarian society. He believed in building mass organization to lead the struggle against the Indian state.
But in a successful coup, a zestful Narayan Sanyal and others made Kanu ineffective, regrouped and launched the next phase of armed class struggle in dense jungles of Dandkaranya
A disheartened, broken and ill Kanu Sanyal, eventually committed suicide on 23rd March 2010.
So here we have the most prominent figure in the Maoist Terrorist movement ,responsible for years of bloodshed and destruction. The Government’s case against Binayak Sen rests on his close links with Sanyal. Curiously most of commentators have blissfully ignored the personality of Narayan Sanyal and his well known role in violent struggle, thousands of deaths, destruction and mayhem unleashed for myopic radical changes in India.
Sen met Narayan Sanyal in jail for 33 times between May 26 and June 30, 2007, allegedly carrying seditious letters and passing them to Piyush Guha.
Piyush Guha is another convicted actor in the drama, is a tendu leave trader from Calcutta. He was supposed to be carrying the letters written by Naryan Sanyal, which were allegedly passed on to him by Dr. Binayak Sen.
According to government assessments the estimated annual income of the Maoists is around a whopping Rs 1,400 crore (Approx 300 Million US Dollars), largely sourced through extortion. Maoists have been targeting the forest produce and mining industry, besides road contractors operating in the area.The Maoist-infested regions of Chhattisgarh are abundant in forest produce like tendu leaves, sal and timber. The ultras force the contractors and the transporters to pay up in return for “protection” of their businesses. The businessmen are left with little choice but to comply with the extortion demands. The state-run companies.do not have to directly deal with Maoists, as the extortion levies are forced on contractors and transporters. Similarly, industries and businesses in Maoist-infested areas have to pay protection” money.
These helpless traders, transporters and businessmen are left with no option but undertake various clandestine assignments for the Maoists.
Its very likely that the tendu trader Piyush Guha was acting as a courier to pass on letters written by Sanyal to other comrades waiting for important instructions and information.
The frugal Maoists, keep the operating expenditure low to fund the central military commission, R&D wing, arms procurement wing, information and publicity wing, state committees spend big money to buy sophisticated Chinese arms.
The market hating ultra are careful enough to spend a good chunk on marketing of the violent cause, public relations and publicity, both through the Internet and in-house publications. One of their publications has a good circulation amongst thousands of cadres and many urban sympathizers. It is very likely that some part of the bounty is shared with their influential supporters and mouthpieces, to fund their wining, dining and wooing of sundry jet hopping, Scotch guzzling, caviar greedy opinion makers in India and abroad.
It is also believed by some commentators, that when Binayak Sen was arrested, the event ended up giving a huge boost to the Maoists. As they strongly advocate violence to achieve their ends, it was a big bottle of oxygen for them, every time the bumbling state committed a grave travesty of justice.
However, It is accepted even by the Maoist apologists that armed movements have only succeeded in autocratic, dictatorial and monarchical states, but never in democracies.
If there is one major reason why communists have failed in contemporary times, it is because they do not know how to function in a democracy. They were successful In Russia, China, Cuba and elsewhere, because the democracy was missing. This observation holds true not just in the case of Maoists , but for all those who advocate violence as a political weapon and their misty eyed, fashionable supporters.
The Maoist movement, which started in late sixties, primarily fed on land disputes, police brutality and corruption. Due to these reasons, it has been strongest in the poorest and most deprived areas of India, many of which are rich in natural resources.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has labeled the insurgency the number one threat to India’s internal security, and repeatedly urged state administrations to speed up pro-poor welfare measures specially in Maoist-hit regions.
The moot question is, was Dr. Binayak Sen, who is presented as, and believed to be a peace loving Gandhian, unaware of what has been going on the jungles in name of revolution? Did he not know about the important role played by Narayan Sanyal during decades of gruesome violence, deaths and destruction?
In an interview, he has softly debunked the notions of Gandhian romanticism and expressed his dormant discomfiture about Baniya origin of Gandhi. His sardonic comments on Indian state, tribal poverty and plight of young prisoners jailed for patty crimes, though true but do betray his leftist leanings.
Interestingly he has commented about the well entrenched corruption in Indian jails as the great leveler and a “democratic tool”, in hands of the helpless inmates to strike back at the heartless state, to live a better life behind high walls of prison. As a strategic lip service for public consumption, Dr, Sen reaffirmed his aversion to violence. But at the same time, did not feel any thing wrong in hobnobbing with one of the most dangerous man responsible of thousands of death and mayhem.
When asked by a journalist, if he now looks back and feels, was it wrong for him to meet Narayan Sanyal?
His swiftly responded by saying, he was only trying to help Sanyal by giving medical advise and legal help.
In a published statement, Dr, Sen, has said, “I submit that my prosecution is malafide; in fact it is a persecution. I am being made an example of by the state government of Chhattisgarh as a warning to others not to expose the patent trampling of human rights taking place in the state. Documents have been fabricated by the police and false witnesses introduced in order to falsely implicate me.”
With in the prisoners hierarchy, Narayan Sanyal is sure to exude and carry an aura of important inmate, may be the most important and dangerous one. Similarly a regular visitor Dr. Sen, involved in taking care of poor tribal, boss of an entity, giving sleepless nights to seats of power, must have been given due respect. Its likely that these two great men were left alone to confabulate regarding, the professed medical and legal issues. Mere exchange of few pieces of paper wouldn't have been a very difficult task, when they met 33 times. As explained by Dr. Sen himself the democratizing corruption and influence makes life easy by providing personal stove to cook delicious and nourishing “Daal” by beleaguered inmates. It has been very clear, that any thing is possible with in portals of Draconian Indian prisons.
Secret written communications of shadowy Maoists are never addressed, nor carry burden of date but are coded. Further, it can be presumed that the careful couriers will exchange their prized wares only in total privacy with no other soul around.
Ilene Sen may be rightly worried about his heart problems, needing immediate medical care, which is allegedly being denied by Raipur jail authorities. She further fears for life of her ailing husband, which is supposed to in danger. Its however highly unlikely that such a high profile inmate can be subjected to such foolish and questionable treatment, in 24x7 glare of media attention.
The weak arms of fake Indian democracy and highly influential civil society has helped him before and surely would provide further assistance to Dr. Sen.
Maverick politician and legal luminary, Ram Jethmalani had secured him a bail in past and he is set to help again with his legendary legal skills. According to the Mr. Jethmalani, the higher court would throw this weak case out with in minutes. It is again an enabling paradox that the feared lawyer belongs to the right wing political party BJP, governing Chattisgarh and alleged to be the real tormentor of Dr. Sen. But Mr. Jethmalani has strongly asserted his right and resolve, to never discuss his professional assignments with the party.
Eventually, Dr. Sen would perhaps emerge stronger from the isolation of imprisonment. He has been and would rejoin the expanding army of luminaries articulating defining weaknesses of Indian polity, governance and the underlying imperfections.
Even after his freedom, few troubling questions would never be answered and remain buried under weight of several contradictions and misty idealism. It will never be known, if Dr. Sen did courier secret communication from Narayan Sanyal, and how many people had died as result of any related action by ultras?
Maoist war is inherently political with deep rooted and complex commercial interests along with large money to fuel it ahead with more bloodshed. Their concern for poor and tribal is fake , as they neither have will , resources and nor any skills to lift poor out of their plight. Some of it flows from brutal intimidation and total disregard for any sort of developmental activity and related job creations. There are also several reports of forces perennially engaged in inflicting deep wounds on India are helping Maoists by funding, supplying sophisticated arms and supposed to be planning joint operations to strike terror in Metros.
Further, it will never be known that In his noble venture of helping poor and Maoists, how much Dr. Sen had been privy to, about the deep secrets and well known violent going on in deep jungles?
Dr, Binayak Sen, with his dreamy eyes and beard resembles an older version of late Che Guevara, also a doctor. Dr. Sen, just have to grow long hairs and put a beret.
But certainly the Indian Doctor does not seem to be so colorful, restless and full throttle, trigger happy revolutionary, as legendary Che was.
Its ironic that the ailing Fidel Castro, the tallest living revolutionary has belatedly confessed, about the abysmal failure of communism to help poor.
But, it will be perhaps, take few more tormenting years and bloodshed, for the Maoists and their misty eyed supporters, to agree with a wizened Castro