Smarajit Jana, who worked sex workers’ rights in Kolkata, lost his battle to Covid-19 at a Kolkata hospital on Saturday. He was 68.
Jana had founded the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) which works for the welfare of sex workers in Kolkata. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled the death.
As a researcher with the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in 1992, Jana sensitised sex workers about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at Sonagachi, the biggest red-light area Kolkata. As part of the government project, sex workers were recruited to spread awareness about HIV among their peers.
Jana served as the HIV programme co-ordinator in Bangladesh between 1999 and 2002 and as a member of the advisory board of the European Commission’s programme on AIDS and STDs in India from 1996 to 1998.
Meanwhile, the state logged another highest single-day coronavirus cases at 19,441 and 124 deaths in the last 24 hours. With the fresh case, the active cases on Sunday increased to 1,26,027. As many as 18,454 patients were discharged from hospital since Saturday while the recovery rate stood at 86.07 per cent.
Of the fresh cases, North 24 Parganas and Kolkata reported around 8,000 cases.