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Ilina talks tough

lucknow Updated: Mar 25, 2011 02:44 IST
HT Correspondent

Ilina Sen, 60, wife of rights campaigner Binayak Sen, 62, says amongst some of the most horrifying things she has read over the internet, since her husband's arrest, was that he got himself jailed, since he was eyeing the Nobel for peace. The gutsy Ilina, who teaches at the Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha, Maharashtra, however says, this has nevertheless not dimmed her resolve to get justice for her husband.

In fact, for all you know, she may even contest elections, to prove a point. "But, first I have to win this case before thinking of winning an elections," she told HT during her visit to the state capital on Thursday.

In fact, she talks about the case of a class XII girl student, Chandrakanta Toppo, who was not allowed to take her exams and put behind bars for 16 months for 'waging a war against the state!' "There are about 300 others, jailed on similar charges in Chattisgarh. It is a sad reflection on our system that once a false case is registered in the name of security, it is almost impossible to turn the clock back, even if facts stare us in the face that indicate that the case had no basis. I now realize that this battle is as much mine as that of any other Indian," she says.

"Barring few aberrations, the response of the people by and large, has been very positive. And support is coming from across the globe. Nearly 40 Nobel laureates have written in support of Binayak, several lawyers including Ram Jethmalani are fighting our case for free," she said. She said, "As I fight the long and painful legal battle to extricate Binayak from the clutches of the penal administration, I realize that at many levels, people here are struggling for the establishment of accountability and transparency in governance." Ilina, says she has been juggling the roles of a mother - she has two daughters --, a university teacher, touring nearly a 15 days a month to make people aware of the issue and getting ready for a legal battle.

"I am ready to fight it out, whatever it takes," she says as she gives the background of how her husband was allegedly framed by the Chattisgarh police, convicted of sedition and of violating sections of the UAPA as well as the Chhattisgarh Special Public security Act. Ilina Sen felt that Binayak Sen came on the radar of the Chhatisgarh government through his protests on the forceful acquisition of land by the government to set up industries and his outcry against the Chhatisgarh Jan Suraskha Abhiyan. "My husband has been a very democratic man. I pursued my PhD, made my career all after marriage. Binayak never objected even once. In his public life too he has been very democratic and to charge him with committing an undemocratic act, is just not right," she says.

She says, the case against Binayak hinged upon his 33 meetings with jailed Maoist leader Narayan Sanyal, his supposed couriering of Sanyal's letters and their passing on to Pijush Guha, through which letters, the death and destruction being carried out by the Maoists was supposedly given effect."

"Binayak's own statement to the court gives a perfectly rational explanation for these visits and the way in which his intervention was essential in facilitating the hand surgery of Narayan Sanyal at the Raipur Medical College, but this was not taken into account," she says.