GN Saibaba’s family is happy and worried. They are relived that the long judicial battle is over but say the biggest challenge now is his health as his left hand is paralysed and his spine needs treatment.
“My dad was arrested when I was writing my Class 12 exams. Now I am in the third year. When I decided to study English, I thought my father would be there to guide me but he was locked in jail,” said Saibaba’s daughter Manjira after he was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Monday.
Delhi University English professor Saibaba was arrested for alleged Maoist links in 2014.
Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound, was lodged in Nagpur Central jail and was charged under five sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
In June 2015 he was granted bail when his health deteriorated but in December, the Nagpur bench struck it down.
“The most important three years of our life were spent without my father. But I am excited as this bail does not have any conditions. This was unexpected,” she said.
Manjira describes how her first year of college passed under depression.
“From the very beginning injustice has been done to my father and us… I am glad he stood up against injustice,” she said.
The family is going through financial trouble since the college is only paying half the salary to Saibaba who was suspended.
“Loans have to be paid with the little salary. Day-to-day cost is being covered with the money that people are contributing. We had to leave the university accommodation but thankfully someone gave us this house to live,” said AS Vasantha Kumari, Saibaba’s wife. She was supported by the Committee for the Defence and Release of GN Saibaba.
She said the court order has reinforced her faith in democracy.
“My husband tried to let the world know about the injustice against the tribals that is why he was punished. Government wants to repress dissent but today court asked them to stop harassing Saibaba. It also asked — ‘Do you want to extract a pound of flesh?’ Despite the scolding, the prosecution kept on saying that if released, Saibaba would indulge in anti-national activities,” Kumari said.