Author and activist Ilina Sen, who spent many years in Chhattisgarh working with trade unions, the underprivileged and tribal people, died of cancer here on Sunday. She was 69.
She is survived by her husband, Dr Binayak Sen, and two daughters.
In 2010, Dr Binayak Sen, who is also a human rights activist, was accused of being a courier of Maoists and convicted by a Raipur court under sections of the Chhattisgarh Public Safety Act, the UAPA, and sedition. Ilina Sen led the legal battle for his release, with her campaign drawing support from public intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Amartya Sen.
“She passed away at around 7 pm. Binayak da and others are there. It is a great loss,” said Ranjit Sur of the Association for Democratic Rights, a human rights organisation.
In a statement, CPI(ML) state secretary Partha Ghosh said, “Dr Ilina Sen was a face of the public health movement. Tomorrow, at 6 am, her last rites will be performed at Keoratala crematorium.”
Sen was a fierce critic of alleged human rights violations in Chhattisgarh, and the acclaimed author of the books Inside Chhattisgarh: A Political Memoir and Sukhvasin: The migrant woman of Chhattisgarh.
Sen worked closely with her husband on healthcare in remote tribal areas. In the mining town of Dallirajhara, where people suffer from illnesses related to heavy mining, the two of them set up Shaheed Hospital to provide subsidised medical treatment.
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