Eastern Times , New Delhi: A committee comprising eminent personalities demanded immediate release of former professor of Delhi University, Dr. GN Saibaba who is currently incarcerated at the Nagpur Central Jail for alleged Maoist links. They also strongly underlined the need for adequate medical attention for the 90 percent disabled professor who was tested positive for COVID-19 on February 12.
The Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. GN Saibaba was addressed by writer Arundhati Roy, former Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha D Raja, General Secretary of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) Muralidharan, former President of DUTA Nandita Narain, professor Parminder Singh, filmmaker Sanjay Kak, wife of Dr. Saibaba and women’s rights activist Vasantha and DU professor Vikas Gupta at the Press Club of India in Delhi on Wednesday.
Distressed at the neglect of Saibaba’s health by jail authorities, Vasantha lashed out saying, “why was he not taken to the hospital? Why is a person suffering from post-polio paralysis, a person who cannot walk, a person whose heart and mind work but every other part of his body is affected not being given bail?
Why is the State afraid of giving him bail?” She also spoke of how he was not allowed to meet his dying mother or even perform the last rites after her death.
The panel highlighted that it is crucial that Dr. Saibaba be examined for all his medical issues at the earliest at a hospital with adequate facilities and that his family members should be allowed to access and provide assistance to him. Furthermore, the jail authorities should be directed to provide his medical records to his family to ensure appropriate treatment is provided to him at the earliest.
Reiterating the inhumanity of denying a person with such severe ailments, Muralidharan said, “the experience of Dr. Saibaba amounts to nothing but torture, cruelty and indignity.
” When the government is willing to acknowledge that persons with disabilities are more vulnerable then why they are not releasing Dr. Saibaba?
In light of the torture faced by him, Dr. Saibaba must be released”.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Arundhati Roy and D Raja mentioned that Saibaba has been suffering from cold, fever, throat infection, body ache, joint pain, shortness of breath, headaches and muscle spasms. However, he was being treated with only basic antibiotics instead of a proper medical attention.
Highlighting the current political scenario where anyone fighting for the rights of others faces false cases, Nandita Narain reiterated the unequal nature of law wherein, “today, justice looks at the face of the person standing before it and gives justice accordingly. We are here to demand his release on bail and proper medical treatment instead of the anda cell”.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan said, “I would call upon the courts and the establishment to immediately release Saibaba and all other similar people (political prisoners).
I would call upon all the courts in this country and tell them that the time has come to hold those police officers to account who are indulging in false implication and fabrication of evidence”.
Demanding immediate release of Saibaba, CPI leader D Raja said, “Why are they afraid of Dr. Saibaba? They are not afraid of his body but his brain. Today, anyone who questions the government is targeted. The government is afraid of the questions raised by people like Saibaba and hundreds and thousands of people coming to the streets”.
Highlighting the physical ailments of professor Saibaba, Vikas Gupta said the inordinate delays by the judiciary amounts to denial of justice. Speaking in one voice he said, “the judiciary will learn a little more sensitivity and release Saibaba expeditiously”.
Arundhati Roy spoke of how the incarceration of Saibaba amounts to torture every single day that he spends behind bars. “This is every day, slowly taking something away from him. Saibaba who is paralysed waist down, for him even in judicial custody he is tortured every day and everything that happens to him is irreversible”.
Speaking at the press conference, Parminder Singh also underlined the urgency of the release of Saibaba.