Delhi University professor GN Saibaba’s family was very sure that he will be acquitted. But a life term in prison on Tuesday has come as a rude shock. The thing that worries them now is his deteriorating health and whether he will be able to get his medicines on time in jail.
The family will be moving the Nagpur bench of the High Court against the sessions court order in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli.
An English professor at Ram Lal Anand College, Saibaba (49), was on Tuesday convicted along with five others under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). He was first arrested in 2014 for alleged Maoist links. He was then suspended from service.
“When he was in jail he was not given medicines due to which his left hand had paralysed and his spine needed treatment. A few weeks back also he had to be admitted to the ICU and was detected with acute pancreatitis. The doctor had advised that he should go for a surgery in two weeks time to remove the stones from gallbladder,” said AS Vasantha Kumari, Saibaba’s wife.
Saibaba’s lawyer made an appeal to the court on Tuesday to allow him his medicines, but the court did not grant permission. In his earlier stint at the jail, Saibaba had complained about his medicines not being given. The family had to get permission from the court so that he could get his dose of medicines.
He takes 10 medicines a day including those for blood pressure, heart, infection and hand and spine problems.
Vasantha says after the punishment was announced Saibaba was not even allowed to meet his brother, who was present with him in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.
“This judgment is a clear way of state impression and violation of human rights. It looks like the state is using the judgement as a landmark to silence those voices who speak against them,” she said.
For Saibaba’s 19-year-old daughter, the news has still not sunk in, but says she will stay strong and fight.
“After the final argument my dad had come and told me that the judges had dismissed the electronic evidence saying there is nothing concrete. So I am just not able to understand this judgement,” said Saibaba’s daughter, a student of a DU college.
The teenager says that the 10 months he was out of prison also went by with hospital visits and fighting for his reinstatement. On February 14, 2017 the college had written to Saibaba saying that his suspension is further extended by 180 days.
They say now the battle is tough for them not only emotionally, but financially as well as the college just pays them 50% of the salary. As per law during suspension he is liable to get 75% of his total salary.
The committee of civil rights activists formed to fight for the release of Saibaba also says that this is not a fair treatment.
“The judgement will be challenged in the court. We are apprehensive about his health. Earlier also he was not given his medicines, now that he is going to the jail with conviction the concern is more,” said Hany Babu, an English professor at DU and member of the committee.