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'Marked for opposing rights violations'

delhi Updated: Dec 25, 2010 00:08 IST
HT Correspondents

The three people sentenced to life by a sessions court in Chhattisgarh on Friday have no similarity with each other, except their alleged links with Maoists.

While Binayak Sen is an authority on public health and paedeatrics, besides being a human rights activist and a family man, Narayan Sanyal is a seasoned Maoist rebel and Piyush Guha is a businessman with a soft corner for left extremism.

Sen, married with two daughters, was, according to his supporters, targeted by the Chhattisgarh government for speaking out against extra-judicial killings in Maoists-dominated areas and the state-sponsored anti-Maoists peace campaign, Salwa Judum.

He graduated from Christian Medical College in Vellore in 1972 and later did his masters in paediatrics. From 1976 to 1978, Sen was a faculty member at the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

But he gave up his teaching job to work in a community-based rural health centre in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. In the late seventies, he became a member of the Medico Friend Circle to build a health system for the poor.

Sen received the Paul Harrison award for a lifetime of service to the rural poor in 2004. He also won the RR Keithan Gold Medal by The Indian Academy of Social Sciences and the Global Health Council's Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights for 2008.

Narayan Sanyal
During his early days, Sanyal, a former bank employee, was associated with the Man-Money-Gun (MMG) group, led by Anant Singh who was one of the participants in the Chittagong armoury raid in 1930.

He later joined the Naxalite movement led by Charu Mazumdar in late 1960s and was a member of Kolkata's Dalhousie local committee. He was a founder member and politburo member of the CPI-ML (People's War). When People's War merged into a bigger entity, the Communist Party of India (Maoist), in 2004, he remained in the politburo of CPI (Maoist).

Piyush Guha
A resident of north Kolkata, Guha had been attached to several rights organisations before being held by the Chhattisgarh police along with Binayak Sen.

Guha's in-laws have links to revolutionary politics. His wife, Mala, and brother-in-law Tinku Ghosh are both lodged at Krishnanagore jail since 2008 for their alleged links with the banned CPI (Maoist).