Kolkata, Feb 27 (IANS) Expressing alarm over prevalent malnutrition in the country, noted rights activist and public health expert Binayak Sen on Saturday called for a law for “Lokdroha” or those working against the interest of humanity.
Participating at convention by the All India People’s Forum (AIPF) here, he also endorsed the forum’s resolution demanding release of Jawaharalal Nehru University Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar arrested on charges of sedition, and resignations of union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya for the death of Dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University.
“If you haven’t seen how a man who is convicted for sedition looks like, then here I am,” said Sen at the convention.
Found guilty of sedition and conspiracy, Sen was sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court in Chhattisgarh in 2010. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in 2011 and an appeal against the conviction is pending in the Chhattisgarh High Court.
“There are laws for ‘deshdroh’, ‘rashtradroh’ (sedition) but I think there should also be a law for ‘Lokdroha’ for dealing with those who work against the interest of the common people, interest of the humanity,” said Sen.
“We should identify such people who work against the interest of the people and charged them with Lokdroha,” he said at the convention where a resolution was passed among others seeking repealing of the law governing sedition and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Criticising the axing of the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB), Sen said more than one-third of the adult population of the country suffers from malnutrition.
“The NNMB has been axed without giving any reasons, though it has been doing a great work. It’s because of the NNMB that we are aware of the alarming status of malnutrition among the children in the country,” he said.
“While it is well established fact that more than 50 percent of children below 5 years suffer from malnutrition and is a chief cause of their death, what is still not known by many, is even a large part of the adult population too suffers from malnutrition.
“According to the NNMB, over on-third of the country’s adult population has a body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5. Even those above the 18.5 BMI, suffer from malnutrition,” he said.
Calling for a law for punishing those working against the humanity, Sen said: “All those responsible for this condition (malnutrition) should be charged with the offence of Lokdroha”.
AIPF, a forum of a host of rights activists and organisations condemned the police crackdown at the JNU and demanded the release of Kanhaiya Kumar.