Known for her dedicated work as an activist in Chhattisgarh, Ilina Sen, wife of doctor and rights campaigner Binayak Sen, passed away on Sunday at the age of 69 after a long battle with cancer. As an activist, Ilina Sen is remembered for taking up the cause of mine worker trade unions in Chhattisgarh against corporatisation and championing the cause of tribal rights.
She has also authored two books: Inside Chhattisgarh: A Political Memoir and Sukhvasin: The Migrant Woman of Chhattisgarh. Along with her husband, Sen was a powerful voice against Salwa Judum and setting up of civil vigilante groups called the Koya Commandos in Chhattisgarh.
Sen’s dedicated work in her husband’s NGO Rupantar became a role model of alternative healthcare in remote areas. She also taught at the Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha, Maharashtra.
Her husband, Dr Binayak Sen, was found guilty of sedition and conspiracy in 2010 by a lower court in Chhattisgarh for allegedly supporting the Naxalite movement and assisting Maoists in fighting the state. Sen spent a little over two years in jail on charges of acting as a courier between Sanyal, a Naxal leader, and a businessman. In 2011, he was granted bail by the Supreme Court, which observed that no case of sedition was made out against him.
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