Delhi University professor G N Saibaba returns to Nagpur jail

[Professor GN Saibaba has been ordered to return to prison in India, adding yet another political prisoner to the many hundreds of thousands of activists who have been imprisoned, often on the basis of  British colonial-occupation laws. — Frontlines ed.]
Saibaba expressed disappointment over the HC order.
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Social activists staged a protest in Nagpur Thursday, demanding Saibaba’s release on bail. (Source: Express Photos)

 “I DON’T feel like a victim but certainly feel I am being used and it is unfair,” said Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, responding to a question if he was a victim of a tussle between two benches of the Bombay High Court.

Saibaba, who was arrested last year for alleged Naxal links and was out on bail, arrived here on Friday evening by flight from Delhi to present himself before the central prison authorities following a Nagpur HC bench’s order two days ago cancelling his bail and asking him to surrender within 48 hours.

“Right from the beginning, I have been subjected to constant witchhunting and false framing. Without any evidence to justify the prosecution, I am being returned to incarceration,” Saibaba said in a statement to journalists. Continue reading

India: Government Relents at Public Outrage At Abuse of Prisoner Dr. Saibaba, Grants Limited Medical Release

Jailed for alleged Maoist link, DU professor GN Saibaba gets bail

Worsening health of G N Saibaba, charged under the UAPA for alleged Maoist links, was the main ground for his release.

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Professor GN Saibaba

AdTech AdWritten by Aamir Khan, Indian Express | Mumbai | July 1, 2015

Wheelchair-bound Delhi University professor G N Saibaba has been granted bail after over a year, as the Bombay High Court Tuesday exercised powers to “protect” his fundamental rights. He has been ailing and will go to Delhi for treatment.

Worsening health of Saibaba, charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged Maoist links, was the main ground for his release.

“If extraordinary powers enshrined under Article 226 is not exercised, this court will be failing in its duty to protect the fundamental rights of professor G N Saibaba, professor of English at Delhi University. Therefore, this court is inclined to direct respondents (jail authorities) to release him for three months for medical treatment and support of his family,” Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S B Shukre observed.

Saibaba has been in Nagpur Central Prison since his arrest in May 2014 by the Maharashtra Police, from the university campus. Now that he is allowed to go to Delhi, he can undergo treatment for degeneration of spine and other neurological ailments.

The HC felt he needed his family’s round-the clock assistance. He has been asked to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000. He has been asked to not keep any mode of communication, such as laptop or cellphones, at his house.Dr GN
Public Prosecutor Sandeep Shinde wanted these bail conditions to be imposed. He opposed the reprieve saying Saibaba is associated with the banned CPI (Maoist) and there was possibility of him tampering with evidence. Shinde argued that Saibaba’s bail had been rejected on three occasions. He submitted that the single judge of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had rejected the plea.
“It was after the sessions court refused him relief. This court cannot take suo motu cognisance in a PIL and grant him bail as it does not have jurisdiction. There is an alternate remedy available to him,” argued Shinde. He pointed that the hard disk retrieved from Saibaba’s house corroborated with evidence in memory cards gathered from a couple of accused who claimed getting it from Saibaba. They were supposed to deliver the memory cards to naxals,” said Shinde.

Activist Purnima Upadhyay, whose letter to the court highlighted Saibaba’s failing health, had pointed out difficulties faced by his family in getting him treated. His family stays in Delhi and his wife and brother have to travel frequently to meet him.

Upadhyay said when she visited Saibaba, she saw him being wheeled with assistance. He had dislocated his shoulder, besides having a crippled right hand due to spinal problems.

“He often gets muscle cramps. He has also been fainting. He said complications in his kidney and gall bladder led to urinal problems as he was on strong medication,” she said.

Allowing Saibaba’s brother and wife to meet him, a bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A K Menon had earlier directed prison authorities to shift the professor to a hospital of his choice. The HC had rapped the police for ‘working blindly’ and treating the ailing professor ‘like an animal’.

Senior counsel Gayatri Singh, appearing for the petitioner, said government facilities in Nagpur were inadequate to handle Saibaba’s case. Escalating medical cost, up to Rs 1 lakh, which the family had incurred was worrisome, she had said.

 

 

The Notorious Treatment of India’s Political Prisoner Dr. GN Saibaba

[Two former political prisoners, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves,  who also were jailed under India’s notorious Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which has incarcerated countless as accused “Naxalites”, describe the details of the notorious and abusive treatment of Professor GN Saibaba, who suffers from polio and multiple medical issues and deteriorating health due to the conditions of his imprisonment. — Frontlines ed.]

How Maharashtra robbed Dr Saibaba of his rights

Until police can be compelled to respect basic human rights, we will continue to remain far removed from the democracy we claim to be.

Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves

“I hope you are doing well, despite the fact that you are all in a larger penitentiary, as Uncle Sam would call it. I have been in a smaller enclosure here for the last ten months. My wish to join you back in the larger prison-house has been thwarted once again. I am sure you all understand the anxieties of your friend’s existence in the claustrophobic sealed concrete enclosure of an ‘anda cell’ behind seven heavy and gigantic gates.” Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba’s words (written over three months ago from the confines of the Nagpur Central Prison) carry that gritty tone characteristic of the man ‘guilty’ of supporting and participating in sundry issues and causes of the poor and dispossessed in various parts of the country over the last three decades.

Dr Saibaba, a Delhi University Professor in English, with 90 per cent permanent physical impairment of his lower limbs, was abducted on May 9, 2014 from a Delhi road by the Maharashtra police and has since been behind bars. His story is a telling commentary on the biases of a criminal justice system that readily releases convicted film-stars and politicians but insists on incarcerating those accused of committing the ‘crime’ of supporting or believing in thought contrary to the ruling ideology. Despite many Supreme Court rulings and the recent Kerala High Court assertion that ‘being a Maoist is no crime’, the reality is that it is just this accusation that keeps Saibaba and hundreds of others like him in prison for years on end.

In the last thirteen months, Saibaba has had his bail rejected four times – thrice in the Sessions Court and once in the High Court. Despite his severe disability and his rapidly deteriorating medical condition, the State has not only vigorously opposed bail, but also gone out of its way to deny him proper medical care. Whenever Saibaba has applied for bail on medical and disability grounds, the prosecution has adopted the tactic of ensuring that facilities were provided in the jail when the bail application came up for hearing, but after the bail application was disposed of, those facilities are withdrawn. Continue reading

UK: Human Rights Activists and Lawyers Protest Political Arrest of GN Saibaba in India

[The following letter from British human rights activists and lawyers is an important internationalist act in solidarity with political prisoners in India, and particularly Professor GN Saibaba.  And it is doubly important for coming from the UK, where the repressive system of colonial laws in India was created, and continues under the purportedly “independent” and “democratic” regime in India today.  In 2012, the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) in India wrote, “…the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) (1967) …. was copied from the Armed Forces Special Powers Ordinance brought by the British in 1942. Today the same law has been revamped with more teeth and implemented. Since the 1950s till date every draconian law that received the gravest wrath of the masses of the people was then rehashed into another law with yet stringent clauses. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the present UAPA is in a way a clever rehashing of the old MISA, NSA, TADA, POTA etc. rolled into one made more stringent with the worst kind of clauses to stifle all forms of dissent.” — Frontlines ed.]

June 20, 2014
Letter to the Chief Justice : Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
http://www.campacc.org.uk

Your Honour,
We the undersigned would like to express our concern over the manner in which the government is increasingly resorting to the indiscriminate use of custody. In particular, the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 2008 (UAPA) is being abused indiscriminately to harass, intimidate and dissenting voices. This is part of the escalating effort to impede free speech and even thought, contrary to the Constitution of India as well as International principles of Human Rights. Such actions become pernicious in the context of the wide-ranging powers and impunity that have been available to the police and paramilitary forces under this Act. This is illustrated by the fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reportedly issued instructions that persons and organizations who raise issues of human rights violations in Maoist areas must be targeted and arrested.
The recent abduction of Dr. G. N. Saibaba was particularly shocking. Dr. G N Saibaba, Asst. Professor with the Department of English, Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi University, was arrested by the Maharashtra Police on 9 May 2014 for his alleged links with Naxal leaders. He has been an active member of the Delhi University community, a very popular and respected teacher, and an important voice on democratic norms within and outside the university. He has been a vocal and important critic of the Indian state’s policies with regard to its paramilitary action in Central and Eastern tribal areas, commonly known as Operation Green Hunt. Along with other intellectuals, he has drawn attention to the blatant human rights violations of the Adivasi peoples of these regions. In particular, he has pointed out the enormous financial stakes in claiming the region for private industrial and commercial development at several national and international forums. Along with other intellectuals, he has criticized such models of “development” and their usefulness for the local populace in any participatory democracy. His sustained critique has earned him the ire of the powers that be. For some time now, they have been looking for a way to silence this very significant voice.
Dr. Saibaba is wheelchair bound, suffers from 90% disability and post-polio residual paralysis of both lower limbs. He poses no flight risk whatsoever. He is also a heart patient with blood pressure issues. Furthermore, he suffers from chronic and intense back pain as a result of the disability and being wheelchair bound. He has always cooperated fully with the investigation and did not need to be arrested. The National Human Rights Commission has already issued notice to the Maharashtra and Delhi police forces for violation of Dr. Saibaba’s rights in the course of the earlier investigation. Continue reading

India Continues State Suppression of Democratic Activists — Denies Bail and Medicine to disabled Professor Saibaba

Delhi University Community Against Police Repression

Press Release on the continued imprisonment of G.N. Saibaba, June 13, 2014

Dr G N Saibaba, who was recently abducted from Delhi by the Maharashtra police and charged under the UA(P)A, has just been denied bail by the Gadchiroli Sessions court.

Despite strong legal grounds for releasing an “infirm” person on bail, under Section 437 of the CrPC despite clear and irrefutable evidence that he is 90% disabled and ill, and that, precisely because of his infirmity, he cannot jump bail, the court has decided he needs to remain arrested and in custody.

The full order is not yet available.

Today Dr Saibaba has sent a letter from jail stating that he is suffering from “excruciating pains in the joints, legs and vertebra”, that these are “ignored”, and that “no medicine is provided or tests are conducted”.

Despite suffering cardiac problems and high blood pressure, “irrelevant medicines are given, like pain killers…which are no use…. BP control medicines…are not given”. When he is medicated it is “without care for required and regular doses”. He says that the “unbearable conditions in jail will make him collapse soon”, that he is “dragging on with sheer will power” but that it is “not possible to drag on in the present condition for long.” Continue reading