BANGALORE: Addressing the audience at the sixth Henry Volken Memorial lecture in the city, Paediatrician-turned activist Binayak Sen made scathing statements about the current state of affairs in the country.
At the programme organised by the Indian Social Institute, Sen pointed out the flaws in the functioning of many government departments, while inspiring the audience towards social mobilisation and to actively engage in politics at all levels, which according to him is the only way to make in roads into legislative processes.
Citing statistics from the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau, Sen pointed out that over 37 per cent of India’s population is suffering from chronic malnutrition. “Any person with a body mass index below 18.5 is suffering from chronic malnutrition. If statistics of the SC and ST population in the country are considered, the number is more scary. According to the WHO, if more than 40 per cent of any large community suffers from chronic malnutrition, then that community is regarded as being in a state of famine. Sadly, the people are ignorant about this,” Sen remarked.
Backing this up with statistics about the national grain consumption, Sen said that the annual consumption has dropped amongst the bottom section of the society, even though the top end of the society has recorded contradictory results.
On being questioned about his jail term, Sen refrained from sharing his personal experience. “Mine was not an isolated case. It became prominent because of campaigns. There are hundreds of victims suffering gross injustices being perpetrated by the judicial system. False police cases are booked, especially against human rights activists. There is a need for a system that brings about judicial accountability and the injustices done within prisons too,” Sen explained.
Further commenting on the state of affairs in the country and the recent movement against corruption, Sen stood firm on the need for all sections of the society to organise themselves and voice their concerns.