A Judicial Murder?
Nandita Narain and Harish Khanna
In the eleven months that
Delhi University's teacher-activist Dr
G N Saibaba has been incarcerated, under UAPA provisions, in the Nagpur Central Jail, he has been subjected to barbaric treatment by the jail authorities and the Maharashtra Police. Dr Saibaba's acute physical disability and life-threatening conditions have been disregarded and he has been denied basic facilities including toilet facilities and helper, prescribed nutrients and medicines necessary for his survival. He is 90% disabled and bound to a wheelchair. He is also suffering from a deteriorating heart-illness and has been medically advised to undergo immediate angiography. Despite this, he has been deliberately confined in circumstances that have only speeded up the further deterioration of his health condition. This amounts to a deliberate, slow poisoning and judicial murder by the State. The Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) believes that the state, under no pretext, has the prerogative to withdraw a citizen’s Fundamental Right to Life. However, that is precisely the case in relation to Dr Saibaba's present situation.
It is tragic enough that despite being required to safeguard and uphold constitutional democracy, the State has chosen to deny a person the right to hold on to his political beliefs. Further, it is nothing short of a monstrous travesty of justice to presume his guilt even before the law has had the opportunity to study the entirety of evidence and reach any conclusion on the charges that have been levelled against Dr Saibaba. The DUTA reiterates its sense of outrage at the unlawful and utterly undemocratic manner in which his 'arrest' was carried out in May 2014. The police have trampled upon the civil rights of Dr Saibaba and his family members. Its impunity merits widespread disapproval and protest from all civilised and democratic sections of society. The DUTA expresses its shock that Dr Saibaba had to resort to a hunger-strike in the Nagpur Central Jail in order to draw attention to the barbaric conditions in which he was being kept. After six days of hunger strike, during which there was no response from the jail authorities, he became unconscious and had to be admitted to hospital. Now that he has been brought back to the jail, the DUTA expresses grave concern for his safety and condemns the Jail authorities and Maharashtra Police for attempting to deviously eliminate him in custody.
The DUTA demands an immediate release of Dr G N Saibaba and urges the State to grant him the right to face trial under relevant sections of the Cr.pc, including Section 437. It also calls upon all civil liberties and democratic rights organisations to collectively strive to secure justice for Dr Saibaba.
Vol. 47, No. 46, May 24 - 30, 2015