India: Disabled Professor Denied Bail and Medical Care

Bombay HC rejects ailing DU professor GN Saibaba’s temporary bail plea

Speed News Desk|23 December 2015

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has rejected the bail plea of Delhi University professor GN Saibaba, who was arrested by the Maharashtra Police for his alleged Maoist links.

The bench has asked the academician, who uses a wheelchair, to surrender in 48 hours, “failing which the police shall arrest him.

“The court said that his fundamental rights would be violated if it didn’t grant him bail. The court also took note of the fact that Saibaba is suffering from multiple health problems and needs to be moved around in a wheel-chair. He had dislocated his shoulder and has a crippled right hand due to spinal problems.

He was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. On 1 July, he was granted temporary bail on grounds of failing health. Saibaba had been in jail since his arrest in May 2014 from the Delhi University campus.

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Statement by Committee for the Defense and Release of Dr GN Saibaba

Statement of condemnation of the order to send Dr. G.N. Saibaba back to prison

Court cancels wheelchair-bound professor's bail, charges Arundhati Roy with contempt for defending himWe the undersigned are shocked to hear the news that Dr. G.N Saibaba’s application for permanent bail was rejected today by the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court. What is further appalling is that the High Court has also dismissed Saibaba’s interim bail order (Criminal Application No.785/2015), that was issued by a division bench led by the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Justice Mohit Shah along with Justice Shukre on 30/06/2015 which granted him interim relief which in turn was extended by the same division bench till 31st December 2015, to avail treatments for his serious medical conditions. It was only after many democratic voices raised an alarm about the rapidly failing health condition of Saibaba, that the Bombay High Court intervened on the basis of a letter written to the Chief Justice by an activist named Purnima Upadhyay. The letter, which was suo moto converted to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the High Court, resulted in Dr. Saibaba being granted temporary bail. Interrupting his ongoing treatment, the new judgment by a single judge of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has ordered Dr. Saibaba to surrender himself to the Nagpur prison within 48 hours! The order further states upon failure to do so, he shall be arrested by the police. Continue reading

‘Terrorism Isn’t The Disease; Egregious Injustice Is’

PANINI ANAND interviews ARUNDHATI ROY

photo by NARENDRA BISHT

No one individual critic has taken on the Indian State like Arundhati Roy has. In a fight that began with Pokhran, moved to Narmada, and over the years extended to other insurgencies, people’s struggles and the Maoist underground, she has used her pensmanship to challenge India’s government, its elite, corporate giants, and most recently, the entire structure of global finance and capitalism. She was jailed for a day in 2002 for contempt of court, and slapped with sedition charges in November 2010 for an alleged anti-India speech she delivered, along with others, at a seminar in New Delhi on Kashmir, titled ‘Azadi—the only way’. Excerpts from an interview to Panini Anand:

How do you look at laws like sedition and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or those like AFSPA, in what is touted as the largest democracy?
I’m glad you used the word touted. It’s a good word to use in connection with India’s democracy. It certainly is a democracy for the middle class. In places like Kashmir or Manipur or Chhattisgarh, democracy is not available. Not even in the black market. Laws like the UAPA, which is just the UPA government’s version of POTA, and the AFSPA are ridiculously authoritarian—they allow the State to detain and even kill people with complete impunity. They simply ought to have no place in a democracy. But as long as they don’t affect the mainstream middle class, as long as they are used against people in Manipur, Nagaland or Kashmir, or against the poor or against Muslim ‘terrorists’ in the ‘mainland’, nobody seems to mind very much.

“India’s democracy is for the middle class; for Kashmir or Manipur, it’s not available. Not even in the black market.”

Are the people waging war against the State or is the State waging war against its people? How do you look at the Emergency of the ’70s, or the minorities who feel targeted, earlier the Sikhs and now the Muslims?
Some people are waging war against the State. The State is waging a war against a majority of its citizens. The Emergency in the ’70s became a problem because Indira Gandhi’s government was foolish enough to target the middle class, foolish enough to lump them with the lower classes and the disenfranchised. Vast parts of the country today are in a much more severe Emergency-like situation. But this contemporary Emergency has gone into the workshop for denting-painting. It’s come out smarter, more streamlined. I’ve said this before: look at the wars the Indian government has waged since India became a sovereign nation; look at the instances when the army has been called out against its ‘own’ people—Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Kashmir, Telangana, Goa, Bengal, Punjab and (soon to come) Chhattisgarh—it is a State that is constantly at war. And always against minorities—tribal people, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, never against the middle class, upper-caste Hindus.
How does one curb the cycle of violence if the State takes no action against ultra-left ‘terrorist groups’? Wouldn’t it jeopardise internal security?
I don’t think anybody is advocating that no action should be taken against terrorist groups, not even the ‘terrorists’ themselves. They are not asking for anti-terror laws to be done away with. They are doing what they do, knowing full well what the consequences will be, legally or otherwise. They are expressing fury and fighting for a change in a system that manufactures injustice and inequality. They don’t see themselves as ‘terrorists’. When you say ‘terrorists’ if you are referring to the CPI (Maoist), though I do not subscribe to Maoist ideology, I certainly do not see them as terrorists. Yes they are militant, they are outlaws. But then anybody who resists the corporate-state juggernaut is now labelled a Maoist—whether or not they belong to or even agree with the Maoist ideology. People like Seema Azad are being sentenced to life imprisonment for possessing banned literature. So what is the definition of ‘terrorist’ now, in 2012? It is actually the economic policies that are causing this massive inequality, this hunger, this displacement that is jeopardising internal security—not the people who are protesting against them. Do we want to address the symptoms or the disease? The disease is not terrorism. It’s egregious injustice. Sure, even if we were a reasonably just society, Maoists would still exist. So would other extremist groups who believe in armed resistance or in terrorist attacks. But they would not have the support they have today. As a country, we should be ashamed of ourselves for tolerating this squalor, this misery and the overt as well as covert ethnic and religious bigotry we see all around us. (Narendra Modi for Prime Minister!! Who in their right mind can even imagine that?) We have stopped even pretending that we have a sense of justice. All we’re doing is genuflecting to major corporations and to that sinking ocean-liner known as the United States of America. Continue reading

West Bengal: Stories of Unjust Arrests under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

Chharadhar Mahato, leader of People's Committee against Police Atrocities in Lalgarh, arrested under UAPA

Satyarupa Jana: Prize Catch under UAPA

by Nisha Biswas

Indian Vanguard,  September 25, 2010

On July 9, 2009 Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the Chief Minister of West Bengal assured his colleagues in State Assembly that the government would see that Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA) is not misused.

He also informed the assembly that from the day of banning of Communist Party of India (Maoist) by the Centre and the imposition of UAPA in West Bengal (June 22, 2009) till that date, only 39 persons have been arrested by invoking this Act, out of which thirty were from West Midnapore, five from Bankura and four from Purulia. However, as his habit is, he did forget (intentionally?) to mention the first arrest of Gour Chakroborty, spokesperson of CPI(Maoist) on the day the Maoist party was banned by the Government of India, without giving him a chance to clarify his stand.

The exact number of persons arrested so far under this Act is not known but the estimate is that it is not less than a couple of hundreds. However, an RTI inquiry by APDR reveals that, till March 2010, only 30 persons have been arrested from West Midnapore under UAPA. The list begins with unbanned CPI(Maoist) party Spokesperson Gaur Chakroborty, activists Raja Sorkhel, Prasun Chatterjee, Bangla People’s March editor Swapan Dasgupta (who died in custody), PCPA spokesperson Chhtaradhar Mahato, treasurer Sukhashanti Baskey, and other high profile persons, including activists of democratic movement to people like Satyarupa Jana of Pankhai, Khejuri of East Medinipur.

Satyarupa belongs to the region, which happened to be the ruling party stronghold during Nandigram protest. She is such a politically naïve person that she never bothered to find out what is happening on the other side of Taikhali Bridge. Even today, she is at loss in explaining why so many from Nandigram were murdered. Her life of 48 years has been a struggle to make both ends meet – she has tried to educate her three sons and is proud of the fact that they are doing well and that one of her daughter-in-law is a para-teacher and the other one is doing her graduation. Hers is a normal conventional life of a little ambitious and industrious person who has taken risks and has almost never missed any opportunity of an extra earning. Satyarupa says that she did hear gun shots and the noise of bomb hurling, but has always tried to keep her family and self away from all these political chaos. Continue reading

Gujarat, India: Arrest of Dalit leader and wife as ‘Naxalites’ condemned


Srinivas Kurapati was arrested at Ghodasar on 30 May 2010

AHMEDABAD, June 6, 2010

Manas Dasgupta

Several voluntary organisations and “concerned citizens” fighting for human rights have condemned the “indiscriminate” detention of some human right activists and trade union leaders, branding them as “Naxalites.”

“It has become an obsession with the Gujarat government and its police to brand human right activists as Naxalites to stifle the voice of protest by the poor and the downtrodden. The civil society need to stand up against such undemocratic methods of the police to curb dissensions against the government administration,” Mr. Hiren Gandhi, director of “Darshan,” a voluntary organisation, noted human right activist and advocate Girish Patel, and several others said here on Tuesday.

They were particularly protesting against the detention earlier this week of a Dalit leader, Ambubhai Vaghela Srinivas Sattayya Kurapati alias Kishore, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, but has made Gujarat his work place for the last eight years or so, and his young wife, Hansaben. Continue reading