Disability rights NGO NPRD has sought the NHRC’s intervention to shift G.N. Saibaba, a wheelchair user lodged in the Nagpur central jail, to a medical facility for treatment. Former Delhi University professor Saibaba, who is serving life sentence in a prison for alleged Maoist links, has filed a bail application before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, citing his weak health and the outbreak of coronavirus.
Mr. Saibaba’s disability is caused by a combination of polio which has affected both his legs, acquired in childhood years, as well as progressive and incurable conditions of the spine and nervous system.
In a petition to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chief H.L. Dattu, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) general secretary Muraleedharan said Mr. Saibaba has been facing tremendous difficulties in the Nagpur jail.
“The jail premises are completely inaccessible. He is mistreated and mishandled by the police and jail staff on a regular basis. Additionally, held in solitary confinement, even the earlier assistance given to him by other inmates has been stopped since some time now, owing to which he has to live in unhygienic conditions inside the inaccessible and a cell,” the petition said.
The NPRD further said that Mr. Saibaba is at a high risk of contracting the coronavirus. The conditions in the Nagpur jail are deplorable. Apart from it being overcrowded many guards and prisoners, one even close to his cell, have been infected with the dreaded COVI-19, the NPRD claimed.
Given his weak physical condition, his comorbidities, cardiac problem combined with high blood pressure as also a compromised immune system, there is every possibility that Mr. Saibaba may contract the virus, it said.
“This may prove highly dangerous and fatal for him. Saibaba also requires immediate hospitalisation to get treated for various other health conditions, cited above, which he is being currently and consistently denied,” the petition said.