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'The concept of love for nation has to be redefined'

April 19, 2011 21:41 IST

Rights activist Binayak Sen can breathe easy, at least for the moment. After being released on bail by the Supreme Court while serving a life sentence for sedition and links with Maoists, Sen asserted that he was not a "traitor" and that he would carry on working for the under previleged.

Rediff.com's Onkar Singh spoke to Sen over phone. Here's the transcript:

How does it feel to be out of jail?

I am happy. I would not have come out of jail if the Supreme Court had not granted me bail.

Did you feel that you were alone in your fight?

No. I knew that people -- both at national and international level -- were working to get me out of jail.

Were the charges against you frivolous?

I had never accepted the charge of sedition. The Supreme Court order would have larger implications. I have come out of jail, but what about thousands of people who have been put behind bars in Chattisgarh on sedition charges? The sedition charge against me was a misplaced one. I am out, but I have to still fight my battle in the high court.

Law Minister Veerappa Moily has said that he would have the clauses of the sedition law re-examinedÂ…

He has made a big decision. The concept of love for nation has to be redefined.

Will you be taking up the cause of those languishing in jail on sedition charge?

I have not consulted my advocates. The charges against them are vague. We need to fight our battle for their freedom. I am the vice president of the People's Union for Civil Liberties; I will continue to work for the under previleged. We have to fight for peace and justice.

Noted advocate Ram Jethmalani helped you secure your freedomÂ…

I thank Ram Jethmalani for flying to Raipur at his own cost and fight my case in the high court and later in the Supreme Court. Ever since I have come out of jail I have read only news reports. I have not seen or read the judgment.

Do you think that Salwa Judum (anti-Naxal armed group of special police officers) should be wrapped up?

Why not? Even the Chhattigarh administration has admitted that there is no such thing as Salwa Judum. So those who are operating under that name should be forbidden to carry on the vigilante work under suspicion.