Four days after he was arrested by the Maharashtra Police for alleged links with Maoists, Delhi University teacher GN Saibaba is planning to go on a hunger strike from Thursday. Saibaba’s brother Ramdev said that he was being kept in highly unsanitary conditions.
According to a letter written to officials at the central prison, Ramdev met Saibaba in jail on May 12 where he was informed of the condition he was being kept in.
“I came to know that he was kept in solitary confinement, not allowing anyone to help him,” the letter states.
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Ramdev has requested that Saibaba be provided with two assistants since his 90% locomotor disability restricted him from conducting even daily activities such as using the toilet.
Delhi University teachers along with representatives from various other civil society organisations on Wednesday demanded that Saibaba be released immediately.
The main issue raised by colleagues and family members was that Saibaba was allegedly not being given medication regularly.
He suffers from hypertension as well as heart ailments. He also suffers from chronic backache since his disability puts a lot of pressure on his spine.
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“The conditions that Sai has been confined in are deplorable. He is in solitary confinement when he clearly needs attendants, he is not being given his medication and he is being forced to live in indignity. This amounts to torture,” said Karen Gabriel, who teaches English at Delhi University.
Former chief justice of the Delhi High Court, Rajinder Sachar said that it seemed that the arrest was illegal.
“It is a shame that Saiwas arrested from the university premises and the university has not spoken out against it. On behalf of People’s Union for Civil Liberties, I demand that Sai be released immediately,” Sachar said. Others pointed out how several others who had raised their voice in support of tribal and land rights were earlier harassed. “It has been seen that when allegations of being Maoists are leveled on people, human rights become irrelevant. We have to look at cases against SAR Geelani, Iftikar Geelani and Binayak Sen, all of who were acquitted, to know that they were picked up for dissenting only,” said Nanadita Narain, president of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association.
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