Stand by those jailed for activism: Amartya Sen

It is time to stand by those who are being jailed for activism or persons like Naseeruddin Shah who are raising questions about growing intolerance in the country, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said here on Monday. “There is growing intolerance compared with the past. Many activists are now jailed as Maoist sympathisers … it is an extraordinary violation of human rights. Even Naseeruddin Shah is targeted,” he said. In solidarity “We should stand by those who are targeted and ostracised. Or, we not only lose the quality of sympathy but also our analytical ability to distinguish between what is important and what is not.” “We need to protest the way this actor [Naseeruddin Shah] is targeted,” Professor Sen said. In a two-minute solidarity video for human rights watch dog Amnesty International, Mr. Shah recently said that those who demanded rights were being locked up. Professor Sen released a study conducted by the Pratichi Institute and Asiatic Society on the living conditions of the tribal people of West Bengal. The survey report has identified “food scarcity in varying degrees” in about 31% of tribal households in the State. Commenting on the report, Boro Baski of Bishnubati village in Birbhum district, said the government’s policies, which were well intended, might “affect” the quality of living of tribal people. “The tin houses built under the government’s housing scheme is leading to the slow disappearance of nicely painted tribal homes, causing changes in the lifestyle of the tribals,” he said.

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