Dr. G N Saibaba, former Professor of English at University of Delhi continues to languish in the Anda cell of Nagpur Central Jail, Maharashtra since more than four and a half years.
Dr Saibaba was arrested under fabricated charges and sentenced to life imprisonment by Gadchiroli Session Court under UAPA. He campaigned for the rights of exploited and oppressed sections of our society including Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and other minorities. Dr. G.N. Saibaba championed for the rights of adivasis and their struggle for their right on Land, Water and Natural resources.
Today, Dr. Saibaba is unable to move without the help of at least two people. In additions to his 90% physical disability, he is suffering with 19 ailments in the Nagpur Central. His health conditions also include Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy with left ventricular dysfunction, hypertension, kidney stones, a cyst in his brain, pancreatic problems and attenuation of the shoulder and arm muscles and nerves resulting in partial paralysis of his upper limbs, most of which developed in jail. His medical report was recently made available by the jail authorities, only under RTI. The examination of these medical reports reveals that Dr Saibaba must be given immediate and intensive medical attention, especially for his deteriorating shoulder muscle strength. During his long incarceration in the Anda cell he got infected with COVID–19, following which his health deteriorated even further.
So far since his incarceration, he has not been given proper medical treatment except performing few diagnostic tests. The Central Jail at Nagpur does not have proper health and other facilities. In fact, there is an utter disregard for the rights of disabled persons.
In the wake of COVID pandemic, the Honourable Supreme Court of India has ordered to release prisoners to decongest the prisons. However, the parole applications of Dr. Saibaba has been rejected thrice by the Jail Authorities even though he is eligible to get the parole. The Jail authorities inhumanly reject parole to Dr. G. N. Saibaba, when his mother expired due to Cancer a year ago. Again, his parole has been rejected to attend one year death anniversary of his mother.
The Supreme Court of India in various cases has taken a serious note of the inhuman treatment on prisoners. India is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which recognises the inherent dignity of human beings and the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom. Even at the time of incarceration a human being cannot be deprived of his basic rights and his/her inherent dignity must be respected and maintained.
India is also a signatory to the United Nations Resolution 70/175 on Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the Nelson Mandela Rules). In terms of specific law with respect to rights of disabled persons, India ratified the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on October 1, 2007.
Several UN Special Rapporteurs including Special Rapporteurs on the rights of persons with disabilities; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 35/6, 33/9, 34/5 and 34/19 made representations to the Government of India to provide required assistance and release Dr. G.N. Saibaba.
Today the country is celebrating National Human Rights Day. Participating in the Summit of Democracy, India has expressed that the countries should follow their constitutional principles.
The Government of India and the State Government of Maharashtra shall follow the law of the land and shall honour the International Resolutions signed. To mark National Human Rights Day, the Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. G N Saibaba demands for the immediate release of Dr. G N Saibaba, and all others incarcerated in the same case by giving bail or parole.
The Committee appeals all Democrats to rise public voice and put pressure on the Governments in support of Prof. G.N. Saibaba’s relief.
The committee demands
• Government of Maharashtra to provide proper medical and other facilities to Dr. G.N. Saibaba.
• To Grant parole to him as he is eligible to get parole. Grant bail or parole to the other persons of the same case.
• To shift him from Nagpur Central Jail to Cherlapalli Central Jail, Hyderabad as per request submitted to the Maharashtra Jail Authorities by his family members.
Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. G N Saibaba
Prof. G. Haragopal, Chairman