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Binayak hailed as `reluctant hero`

New Delhi: Although a court found rights activist doctor Binayak Sen guilty of sedition, he remains a god for his patients whose lives he changed, says Minnie Vaid, whose book on the jailed doctor was released here Saturday.

"When you meet people from the villages of Chhattisgarh whom Binayak Sen treated, he is a god who rid them of their ailments without charging any fee," says Vaid.

Published by Rajpal and Sons, Vaid`s book, ‘A Doctor to Defend’, was released by eminent economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

In the foreword, Sen`s wife Illina says: "When I read the police chargesheet on Binayak proclaiming his apparent lack of income from his medical practice as evidence of his seditious politics, I could have laughed.

"Binayak`s patients almost never had anything to pay, they often stayed over for dinner and a night`s stay for observation. Yet we saw during the Raipur rally, the number of patients - men, women and children from the woking class basti of Dalli Rajhara, Bhilai and Urla - who had stories to tell about Binayak Sen."

The author says these people have lost their doctor.

"Ever since his clinic has been closed, those people have nowhere to go for treatment," Vaid said.

Sen was arrested in Chhattisgarh in July 2007 on charges of supporting Maoists. He was freed on bail in May 2009, but was later sentenced to life imprisonment by a Chhattisgarh court Dec 24, 2010 for sedition.

Written after nearly a year of research, the book traces Binayak Sen`s journey from Vellore`s Christian Medical College to Chhattisgarh, where he treated the poor for free. The book hails him as "a reluctant hero".

"I met him the first time July 2009. He is so down to earth," Vaid said.

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