Mumbai

Plea to release G.N. Saibaba

A group of academicians has appealed to the Centre and the Maharashtra government to immediately release wheelchair-bound Dr. G.N. Saibaba, who is incarcerated at Nagpur jail, in view of the impending threat to his life from the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a recent statement, the Committee for the Defence and Release of G.N. Saibaba, said, “Dr. Saibaba’s health has ‘deteriorated alarmingly’ and due to post-polio residual paralysis of his lower limbs, he is over 90% physically disabled and wheelchair-bound. Since incarceration, he has developed severe additional ailments that have resulted in irreparable loss to his health.”

The letter mentions the details of his case, “On May 9, 2014, Dr. Saibaba was abducted from Delhi by the Maharashtra Police and charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. None of the electronic documents supposedly seized from Saibaba’s house were displayed in the court or tested through any witness or made part of the course of evidence. These electronic documents were directly brought only as part of 313 statements, and not the main course of evidence. The judge rejected all Supreme Court judgments regarding bringing these documents which were not part of the course of evidence as part of 313. These documents used were not a part of the trial.”

“The Gadchiroli sessions court gave life imprisonment on March 7, 2017, to him and five others. Excluding a brief reprieve in 2016, he has been kept in the solitary anda cell of Nagpur Central Jail since arrest. With Indian jails filled beyond capacity and lacking in basic medical facilities and with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the country, particularly affecting the aged and those with serious pre-existing medical conditions, his future looks exceedingly bleak.”

Dr. Saibaba suffers severe physical pain caused by the degeneration of muscles in his hands. He is plagued by pancreatitis, high blood pressure, Cardiomyopathy, chronic back pain, immobility and sleeplessness. The weather conditions of Nagpur, magnified by the windowless solitary anda cell, have even strained the functioning of his heart.

It also mentions that the National Crime Records Bureau states that prisons across the country are filled at 117%, with Maharashtra exceeding the average at 149%. The impact of the spread of COVID-19 virus in such a space is likely to be a death sentence for Dr. Saibaba.

The letter has been signed by Professor G. Haragopal, Professor Jagmohan Singh, Professor Manoranjan Mohanty, Professor Amit Bhaduri, Arundhati Roy, Nandita Narain, Karen Gabriel, Sumit Chakravorty, Ashok Bhowmick, Sanjay Kak, P.K. Vijayan, Vikas Gupta, Biswajit Mohanty, Rakesh Ranjan, Hany Babu, Srikrishna Deva Rao, Seema Azad, A.K. Ramakrishna, N. Raghuram, Anirban Kar and Subrat Kumar Sahu.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:26:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/plea-to-release-gn-saibaba/article31351364.ece

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