A day after a meeting, organised to “express solidarity” with arrested activist Shoma Sen, was cancelled citing “police pressure”, Sen’s family members have urged her supporters to write to her in Yerawada jail and wish her on birthday on August 1 to “keep her spirits high in the fight against wrongful arrest”.
Sen, a Nagpur-based activist, is among five people who are currently in judicial custody in Yerawada jail for alleged Maoist links. On June 6, along with Sen, the Pune City Police had arrested activist Rona Wilson from Delhi, Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai, Nagpur based lawyer Surendra Gadling, and former Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) fellow Mahesh Raut from Nagpur, in connection with an offence related to the Elgaar Parishad held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, which is alleged to have led to the violence on January 1, during the 200 anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sen’s daughter Koel Sen —an independent filmmaker based in Mumbai — said, “We have categorically denied all the charges against my mother, who has never had a single case against her in the past. In the time of over a month since her arrest, I have met a couple of times at the time of court hearing and twice at Yerawada jail. Stay in jail is a depressing experience and we as family are all depressed. We are urging her supporters and well wishers to send letters to her on her birthday on August 1, when she turns 60. We hope these letters will keep her spirits high in the fight against the wrongful arrest.”
“My mother suffers from acute arthritis. We had made an application to the court saying she be provided a portable Western commode. The court had given an order to jail authorities to do the needful. I have met jail officers thrice since then, but no action has yet been taken. This the type of indirect torture she is being subjected to,” she added.
A special court in Pune had remanded the five arrested accused in judicial custody till August 2.