Although she was prepared for the worst, Illena Sen, the wife of civil rights activist Binayak Sen — who was on Friday sentenced by a Raipur court to life imprisonment after being convicted of sedition — says she is disappointed and shocked. A day after, in an interview with Ejaz Kaiser, she says she is ready for legal battle.
What were you expecting before the judgment came against Binayak Sen?
I saw the deployment of heavy police forces in the court premises. So I was not expecting the decision to be in our favour. Our past experiences also made me skeptical. Binayak Sen was consistently targeted after he was arrested in 2007. But surely, I didn’t expect him to a life sentenced.
What will be your next course of action?
We will appeal in the high court. I am proud to have a strong husband and courageous daughters who stood firm when faced with tough challenges. I am determined to fight the legal battle.
The court has established that Binayak Sen had links with the Maoists.
Sen only worked for the poor and tribals. He fought for the rights of the poor, protested mass displacement and opposed heavy industrialisation in tribal regions. (Congress general secretary) Rahul Gandhi too took up such issues at Niyamgiri in Orissa. If Maoists too speak similar things it that doesn’t mean we support the left-wing extremists.
Do you think the judgment acts as a deterrent to Maoists and their sympathisers?
My husband disapproved of the violence perpetrated by the Maoists and the security forces. Do we have any deterrent for the big scamsters and criminals who are roaming freely? We have always been opposing the methods adopted by the Maoists who talk about revolution.