Juxtaposing two news reports, both of them prominent hence occupying the front-page of National daily, The Hindu, to the left is the smiling face of a man who is charged with defrauding the country's exchequer to the tune of Rs 1.76 lakh crore boarding a car after questioning by CBI sleuths and at the right side, the sad face of a human-rights activist who incidentally is the Vice-President of Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties Dr.Binayak Sen sentenced to life-imprisonment, the national daily has displayed the two sides of the same coin in other words, the one who deserves to be more elated shown in a gloomy mood, as he deserves not such a harsh sentence. The other one, a wily politician, known across the spectrum for his skin thickness, no surprise is already in a jubilant mood, the reason eloquent to all of us.
Dr.Binayak Sen, a renowned paediatrician after spending more than two years in a Chattisgrah jail under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 – the charges levelled against him being he was allegedly acting as a courier of Maoists imprisoned in the Chattisgarh prison while visiting the jail inmates for their treatment was released on bail in 2008 and court procedures went on which lasted for two years.
The respected doctor was forced to literally languish in the jail for two years till he was released on bail. Though human-rights activists across India and the worldover applied pressure on Central govt to have mercy on him and release him from incarceration the govt stuck to its guns as long as possible maintaining that he was a hard-core Maoist but it has to buckle under pressure exerted by the International Human Rights organizations and freed on bail. But the case went on, in the Raipur sessions court for the last two years finally ending in his conviction for life. Along with him, prominent Maoist leader Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata based businessman Piyush Guha was also awarded the life-imprisonment and three of them bundled together in a police van and taken to the Chattisgarh jail in the presence of social activists, advocates and onlookers.
While Dr.Binayak Sen was confined to jail an International recognition in the form of Jonnathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights in 2008, for his contribution to the cause of human-rights was awarded unfortunately even after massive pressure by human-rights activists around the world to allow him to accept the award, the govt didn't extend permission. Be that as it may. One painful thing which shook the conscience of many independent citizens was, while in jail he was suffering from heart ailments and was not allowed proper treatment by cardiology specialists.
Imagine the plight of a humane doctor whose patriotism towards his mother country was never under cloud, but slapping sedition charges on such a person by the government and try him in a court of trial is too rude to a wide cross-section of human-rights activists and independent thinkers, even lawyers like Prashant Bhushan.
Life term sentencing of Dr.Sen invited the wrath of educated and uneducated alike and their reactions are pointers in that direction.
While men of stature are put behind bars countless of so-called looters who were and are entrusted with ruling the country to the satisfaction of masses continue the game of looting piling up wealth, enjoy the pomp and pageantry comfortably reclined in their cosy seats at the cost of tax-payers money. These so-called looters always escape the clutches of law and even if they are put behind bars within a week or two they come out unscathed in jubilant moods and rousing receptions being arranged by their followers. Look for instance in our India many political leaders with shady pasts even after convictions and sentencings are roaming scot-free availing bails minutes after being convicted and the minority with criminal backgrounds each of them charged with murders in the capacity of political leaders and members of Parliament enjoy first class facilities in jails like computer, TV, mobile-phones – all sorts of amenities.
Meanwhile educated lot with no shady past who are always at the service of human community languish in jails often under unbearable conditions along with hard-core criminals, sometimes under solitary confinements even without provided with staple food . Such persons of substance are often charged with sedition charges and are branded traitors.
We are caught in kinds of lop-sided system of punishment and if that was not the case how come the big gun's escape without much ado while the humane elements get caught in the web of treason charges and are jailed for a prolonged period?