Friday 1 January 2016

Dreyfus and Saibaba

Prof. Saibaba's case has reminded me of the famous ( or rather infamous ) Dreyfus affair, and of the letter entitled 'J'accuse' by the well known French writer Emile Zola to the French President accusing the French authorities of convicting and imprisoning an innocent man.

Captain Dreyfus was a French Jewish army officer falsely accused, tried by a military court martial and convicted in 1894 on the charge of espionage for the German army, and sent to the the notorious French penal colony ' Devil's island ' off the coast of South America, where he was kept for 5 years in terrible conditions. Anti semites whipped up a hysteria of public opinion against him.

It was later revealed that the evidence against him was manufactured, and he was innocent. Despite this revelation. the army authorities were reluctant to set him free, until Emile Zola wrote his famous letter ' J'accuse ' ( I accuse ) to the French President accusing the authorities of grave injustice. This, and other factors, led to Dreyfus's release, and reinstatement in the French army.

I find many striking similarities between the case of Capt. Dreyfus and of Prof. Saibaba. I too accuse the Indian authorities of imprisoning an innocent man.

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