Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times, Nagpur, India, April 14, 2015
A Delhi University professor, arrested for allegedly being a Maoist sympathiser, launched an indefinite hunger strike on Sunday, protesting against the inhuman treatment at the Nagpur central jail, where he is currently lodged.
GN Saibaba was arrested by the Gadchiroli police in May last year and booked under six sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
On Tuesday, former high court judge and human rights activist BG Kolse-Patil said Saibaba – who is wheelchair-bound as he is physically-challenged – was not given a personal assistant in the jail and was being denied basic needs.
Saibaba’s wife Vasantha said she was shocked to see her husband’s “pathetic” condition. She said his health was deteriorating and that doctors have advised an angioplasty.
Saibaba came under the scanner when JNU student Hem Mishra was interrogated after being arrested in 2013. Mishra, who is also in the Nagpur jail, was said to be acting as a link with senior Maoist leaders, including secretary general Puppalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy. The police said Saibaba was one of the contact points in the national Capital. However, both Saibaba and his wife maintain the charges were fabricated.
Mishra, too, has alleged torture by jail authorities.
Sources said the escape of five criminals from the Nagpur jail recently, and the subsequent beefing up of security, had led to more restriction – and in effect, less assistance for Saibaba.
Kolse-Patil demanded the professor be released immediately and given medical treatment at a good hospital.