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Saibaba facing ‘unjust punishment’: TSSU committee

The Solidarity & Social Justice Committee of the Teaching Support Staff Union has issued a statement of solidarity with human rights activist Dr. G.N. Saibaba who is 90% physically handicapped and is at the Nagpur central prison’s, anda cell (solitary confinement) since March 2017.

In a statement released here on Saturday, the committee said, “he was first arrested on May 9, 2014 on charges of having so-called Maoist links and was briefly freed before being recaptured and given a life sentence. Wheel-chair bound Dr. Saibaba has a severe disability and is not receiving proper treatment or care in prison.”

Further, it said, “recently, a panel of experts with the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights wrote to the Indian government urging authorities to immediately release Saibaba, citing his ‘seriously deteriorating’ health condition: ‘Dr. Saibaba’s health problems require immediate and sustained medical attention and are reaching a point of being life-threatening’.”

The committee pointed out that “Dr. Saibaba is facing unjust punishment for being a tireless defender of the rights of ‘untouchables’ and indigenous peoples in India, specifically those in the mineral-rich areas of the country’s central region. Those close to him believe his harsh punishment is being used as a warning to social justice activists to suppress any dissent against the Indian state. He has worked with activists and movements to resist national and multinational corporations who extract resources from the region at the cost of the environment and displacement of indigenous communities.”

The committee appealed to the Indian judicial system to guarantee that Dr. Saibaba, and all human rights defenders in the country, “are able to conduct their legitimate work without fear of threats or exposure to any act of intimidation or reprisals.”

It also called on the Canadian government to urgently intervene in his aid on humanitarian and compassionate grounds; in 2017 roughly 1,000 Canadians signed a petition in favour of his freedom.

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The headline was corrected to remove the wrong reference to TISS

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 7:32:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/saibaba-facing-unjust-punishment-tssu-committee/article27951870.ece

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