Out on bail after spending close to two years in jail over his alleged ties to Maoists, wheel-chair bound Delhi University (DU) professor G N Saibaba says he feels he has been pushed into a larger prison.
“I continue to feel the restricted atmosphere around me,” Saibaba, currently undergoing treatment for his various ailments at a Hyderabad hospital, told HT.
Suffering from 90% disability, the professor of English at DU’s Ram Lal Anand College has been in and out of prison since he was first detained in July 2014 for being a member of the banned CPI-Maoist, a charge he denies. He last stepped out of prison in April after being granted bail by a court.
Saibaba’s arrest was among a series of police action against civilians accused of Maoist links, including the Mumbai-born Kobad Ghandy, who was acquitted of all terror charges by a Delhi court last week, seven years after the 68-year-old was jailed for alleged links with the CPI (Maoist). Like Saibaba, Ghandy is also facing other terror-related cases in Telangana.
Suspended by the DU pending an inquiry, Saibaba says his life remains in tatters.
Telangana police allegedly prevented him from addressing a meeting last month in Warangal on an anti-Maoist drive launched by the authorities
Restricting his movements further is his frail health which he says deteriorated further following his detention.
He is awaiting a muscle-transplantation at the Hyderabad hospital for his left hand. The hand suffered a severe damage “when the police dragged me into jail holding my hand,” he says. He had earlier alleged that his health worsened after the jail authorities refused him medical treatment during his incarceration.
Saibaba says his financial situation is as precarious. “I get half of my salary but it is being spent on clearing my loans. I am able to meet hospital expenses with the support of friends,” he explains.
Saibaba, who says he was targeted by the authorities for his activism, is however hopeful that the tide would turn for him soon. The trial court has completed examining witnesses and a verdict is expected before July.
“I am hopeful I will be acquitted in the case as the prosecution could not find anything against me despite seizing all documents, hard discs and pen drives,” he says.