EFI Joins Civil Society at Candle Light Protest at New Delhi
The Evangelical Fellowship of India expresses deep concern at the recent conviction of Dr. Binayak Sen on charges of sedition.
Dr Binayak Sen, celebrated human rights activist and medical doctor, has worked for more than three decades as a doctor in the tribal-dominated areas of the state of Chhattisgarh in central India, working for people denied many of the basic services that the state should provide, such as health and education. As a human right defender, Se has been an outspoken critic of the state government and its actions. However, Dr. Sen has been equally vocal against violent means adopted by the Naxals.
Human right defenders are required to monitor fault lines and lacunae in the administration of justice. A few daring individuals such as Binayak Sen and Teesta Setalvad and a handful of human rights groups, at great risk to their own lives, have kept alive the spirit of the Constitution and taken up the cause of the common people victimized by extremist groups or a power-crazed governance system.
However, they 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. It is a matter of deep distress and anguish that India has not been able to build up a sufficiently strong civil society and civil liberty mass movements to match the economic growth.
EFI and other civil society members invite you to a candle light protest on January 4, 2011 at India Gate grounds, New Delhi to stand in solidarity with human right defenders across India. 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, and these few brave men and women were the ones who spoke for us and shared our tears when we were persecuted and attacked in recent years.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
General Secretary, EFI