Shoma Sen is a women’s rights activist and was an Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of English at Nagpur University before she was arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case and subsequently suspended days before she was scheduled to retire in July 2018. She worked closely with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights and was also the President of the Nagpur University Teachers’ Association.
Life and Activism
Shoma Sen grew up in Bandra, in Bombay (now Mumbai). Her father worked as the creative head of an ad agency; her mother was an art teacher and an accomplished singer well-versed in Rabindra Sangeet. She moved to Nagpur soon after completing her master’s degree at Mumbai’s Elphinstone College. She pursued her M.Phil and Ph.D. in Nagpur. She spent the next 35 years of her life teaching in Nagpur. Shoma Sen has worked with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), a human rights organisation. She has been the President of the Nagpur University Teachers’ Association (NUTA). She was a part of a women’s organisation in Nagpur called Stree Chetna, which discussed issues such as violence against women and dowry deaths.
Circumstances of Arrest
Shoma Sen was arrested on June 6, 2018 for distributing controversial pamphlets and delivering hate speeches in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence that broke out in January 2018. Pune police also made her a co-accused in the letter case that was planted on Rona Wilson (another accused in the case) and allegedly had details of a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Charges & Allegations
She is charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
She has a history of hypertension, arthritis, and other ailments. She had appealed for an interim bail based on the recommendations of a high-powered committee constituted on orders of the Supreme Court to decongest jails and on medical grounds, but the special court rejected her plea. Earlier this year, she had also appealed to the Bombay high court alleging tampering of evidence in light of the reports published by Arsenal Consulting, a US-based forensic firm. She filed a plea on April 14, 2021, claiming that a cyber-attacker planted evidence against them.